parenting tips

When Your Toddler Says "No!"

7:30 AM

Part of my Terrible Two experience with my son was my battle with his constant saying of "No!". Whether it be for food, milk, vitamins, taking a nap or going someplace else, the answer was still a stern "No!". Have you also had this problem with your toddler?

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Having a limited vocabulary doesn't help at all. Toddlers cannot fully verbalize what they feel and, often, their answers will just either be Yes or No. Aside from saying "no", they may also show their independence by doing the opposite of what they are being told, running away, or throwing tantrums to get what they want.

There's nothing to worry about when your toddler says "No!" all the time because its part of that growing up stage. Aside from learning new words and other information during this stage, toddlers also feel the desire to be independent. Erik Erikson, a psychosocial theorist, call this stage in life as Autonomy vs. Doubt. In this stage, toddlers are focused on developing a sense of personal control.

To keep your sanity during this terrible stage, you may want to try doing the following:

  • Make a request rather than giving a command. For example, say "Would you like to take a nap now?" instead of saying "Go and sleep now." When your toddler senses that you're giving a command, he will naturally do his own way to stress his independence.
  • Don't say "don't". Instead of saying "Don't run!", try saying "Walking is so much better!"
  • Compromise. If your toddler wants to play some more, you can tell him that he can play more a little later after he's taken his shower.
  • Tap his independent tendencies and make it work for both of you. Because your toddler is in the stage when he feels like taking over the world, you may use a game in getting something done. He would want to win the game for sure. For example, if you want your toddler to pack away his toys, you may say " I bet I can pack these toys in the chest faster than you!"
  • Be consistent with your demands. Don't give in to his requests even when there are guests in your home.
  • Give praise for a job well done. This will encourage your toddler to repeat a good deed.
Realizing that this stage is but natural will help you in adjusting your emotions and parenting tactics. Your child needs to undergo this stage for there may be situations in life when he will need to say "no" in the future.

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  1. I've read somewhere that during difficult stages such as this, toddlers can be tamed by giving them options instead of commands. I've tried it and it worked well with my bratty daughter.

  2. @ Iris: That's one good tip, too. Thanks!

  3. thanks for the tips, i'm going to have a toddler again soon, hehehe! i agree with making a command seem like a game. worked well with my 2 older kids.


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