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Query aboutCognitive Development of the child.

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History - our son in 2 years old. Some 5-6 months back my wife and i were talking how she does not have time for herself after her birth. We were talking in the next room from where he was sleeping. According to my wife since that day, my son has started favoring me .... he comes to me for sleeping, listens to me more than her, when i am not around he keeps on asking for me...etc etc. Is this possible? Today early morning he got up took his feed, found that I was not around and started howling for me. Whatever my wife did he just kept on crying and did not stop till I came back from the gym.
1. Is it possible for a child to favor one parent over another?
2. Are we responsible for his behavior? Or is this only his temper tantrums?
3. Yesterday he fell while climbing the bed and hit his head on the floor. There is a small bruise/bump. Can this fall hamper his intelligence, attentiveness, alertness, memory?

Category: Psychiatrist

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Thanks for using Doctor Spring for posting your query. I have gone through your question in detail and I can understand what you and your wife are going through.

Your son is at present of 2 and half years of age and according to his stage of cognitive development, he is in pre-operational stage of cognitive development. In this stage he will still struggle with logic and it wont be possible for him to consider the point of view of other people. So in that case even if he has heard you both talking, his stage of development will not permit him to think logically and take a planned change in behaviour. I understand that there was a sudden change in his behaviour but logically speaking, it could just be a co-incidence that the same day you were discussing about his behaviour.

Now coming to your questions one after the other:
1) Yes it is very common for the child to favour a parent and its mostly the mothers that the male child favours. The reasons are deep seated in the Freudian ideology where in the child will always have a liking towards the parents of opposite sex. But exceptions do occur occasionally and the exception has occurred in your case. There is nothing to worry about and the child may change his behaviour with time as well.
2) Dont blame yourself for his behaviour. Go ahead with the general principles of good parenting. Never ever physically harm him or punish him. Encourage him by giving reward to all the good behaviours and when he does the bad behaviour then he should be ignored and not rewarded. It could very well be his temper tantrums and the children become more manageable ones they become three years old.
3) We have a strong skull to over up our brain and such minor falls are not significant unless he looses consciousness or has a seizure or a ear nose throat bleed. Until then no need to worry.

Hope this information helps you, please let me know if you have any queries.
Kind regards
Dr. Srikanth Reddy. MD
Consultant Psychiatrist

Patient replied :

Thanks for the inputs doctor. I needed some clarifications on the following:
1. How do we handle his tantrums? For instance yesterday night, he just wont sleep. Every time i would start the process he would identify something new that he wants to do and wont stop crying till he did it. I did raise my voice on many occasions, thinking he might give it up, but he did not. Should we let him do what he wants or not?
2. He has a perpetual habit of hitting his head/getting hurt on his head. Would it make any kind of hindrance on his growth?
3. You spoke about rewarding his good behavior, What can be taken as a reward - praise or materialistic thing?

Thanks for your time and assistance doctor.


Thanks for the follow-up queries.
1. Relenting on the childs request after he cries conditions him to learn to cry when wver he wants something. Sleep time is fine and many children are cranky during that period and we cannot expect a 2 year old child to go to sleep without being irritable. You may give the child waht ever he wants while he is sleepy provided it is feasible. Something that you cannot give should not be given even if he is crying. While he is awake and fresh, he can be given some material reward for his good behaviour. Children like chocolates or stickers etc. The day when he throws tantrums he may not be given the reward.
2. His repeated hitting of head may not lead to any hindrances in his growth.
3. Rewards have to be materialistic. They can be chocolates or stickers etc. Ones he reaches three years he can be given stars which he needs to collect regularly. Ones he has 5 stars he can buy a privilege which otherwise should not be available to him.
Dr. Srikanth Reddy

Dr. Srikanth Reddy
Category: Sexologist
Doctor of Medicine (MD), Psychiatry Residency Program,2001 – 2012
M.B.B.S,Mahatma Gandhi Institute Of Medical Sciences, Sevagram

Certificate Course in sex Therapy and Counselling, Sexology and Counselling, A
Sexology,Medikon Sexual Sciences, Mumbai

Training in Advanced Neurology at a leading corporate hospital (CARE hospital) in Hyderabad

Child Psychiatry Training in National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro-Sciences, Bangalore

Sex Therapy and Counsellingat MEDIKON Sexual Sciences, Mumbai.
Dr. Srikanth Reddy and 4 other Medical Specialists are ready to help you

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