You pushed him out, nursed him, gave him all your love and just the other day you told your 3-year-old to put his plate away and he had the audacity to tell you, “No!”
Well, don’t take it too personal. What you’re experiencing with your child is a normal stage children go through around his age. About age two, kids have a tendency to want to exert their independence. Saying, “No” is one way of doing that. He wants to have his own say about things . . . which isn’t a bad thing, necessarily. You want your child to learn how to say “No” for some things. Don’t take saying “No” too seriously. His vocabulary is blossoming at this time. “No” is a word that he probably often hears you say. So he’s probably quite familiar with it. If you’re still a bit concerned, here are a few things you can do:
First, try to limit saying “No” whenever you’re around him. If you think about it, you might be saying “No” out of habit rather than necessity when he does things. If it’s not a major infraction, maybe you can just let him continue what he’s doing. You can also switch to the phrase “Don’t do that,” rather than use the word “No” when you want him to stop doing something.
The second thing you can do is offer him choices instead of presenting questions that can be answered with “Yes” or “No.” Instead of “Do you want to take your bath now,” ask him "When do you want to take your bath, before or after your story?” This does two things. First, it presents a situation in which he has no need to say “No.” Second, it helps him feel empowered, which is something saying “No” might help him to feel. After all, when he hears and sees you saying “No” to him, you’re exerting your influence and power over him.
Third, like I said in the beginning, don’t really make a big issue of it. He might enjoy the expression or response he sees in your face when he says “No,” to you. If he says it and he sees you’re not responding as usual, that might take some of the pleasure out of it. Now let’s summarize.
1. Limit saying “No” yourself.
2. Offer him choices that do not require a “No” response. This will also help him feel empowered.
3. Ignore it, and don’t take it too seriously.
For more information on making obeying easier and discipline simpler without hitting, shouting or shaming, visit Grandma Jeddah’s website at: www.grandmajeddah.com or subscribe to her free newsletter.