Parenting: Going through the "no" phase
March 9, 2012 (WPVI) -- Some nights my toddler gobbles up his dinner, other times he doesn't do so well.
The other night he ate all of his chicken bites, but then pushed the plate with its remaining complement of green beans away. "Just eat one, a little one. Just try it," I asked. He took in a miniscule bean and spit it out.
Well, he did his part, I thought, and went to get his dessert of fruit.
He ate the pineapple and mango. He didn't want the strawberries and scooped them out, chanting "Put in trash!" I told him to put them back in the bowl - hey, I'll eat the strawberries!
With a glint in his eye, he looked at me and then threw the fruit over the table and onto the floor.
He spent the next five minutes in the time out chair and had to miss his favorite evening program. I know we'll be back at this kind of incident often.
Defiance, whether it's a forceful "No" or a mischievous grin as he does the opposite of whatever we ask, is a daily constant.
He asks to climb into his car seat and then commences to run around the back seat and then storm as we force him into the straps. A request to change his diaper gets a loud "No," and he insists "No diaper cream," sometimes with his little finger pointed like a dictator.
Here's the good news: According to a University of Texas study mentioned on WebMd, children of mothers with the most positive parenting skills are most likely to show defiance. It shows they find themselves in a safe spot to do the work of toddlerhood - test authority and exert independence.
Children of mothers who are depressed are less likely to show defiance, since their kids know to expect short fuses and swift punishment.
What a backhanded compliment! So, what to do?
First up, expect it. Kids one day slip into the "No" phase and, just as unexpectedly, they will soon enough grow beyond it. For many toddlers "No" is one of their first words. Babycenter.com suggests teaching your toddler other response, like "maybe" or "possibly" or even a politer "no thank you."
BabyCenter and other sites also suggest that distraction is your friend. Learn the "twos," or, in other words get used to giving your toddler choices on everything. "Do you want to drink your juice now or in two minutes?" "Do you want to get out of the car now or after a song?"
Whattoexpect.com also reminds you to keep your own temper and frustration in check; that'll only work against you with the child. As much as you might want to throttle your little love bug, violence only teaches them that hitting is the way to express themselves or get their way.
The site also suggests you try to give your child a reason, depending on what they can understand. "Don't run&you could fall on the ice."
Here's another one: Try to cut "No" out of your vocabulary. The less your child hears of it from you, the less they may turn to it. So next time you go to say "No running up the hill," consider "Let's walk up the hill" or "Please stay on the sidewalk" instead.
tamala edwards parenting reports, parenting, tamala edwards
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