“NO”, says the toddler.
In a parking lot, a two-year old grabbed her mother’s keys and ran with them.
“Give’ em to me,” ordered the mother.
“No,” said the toddler defensively.
“Give’ em here,” yelled the mother.
“No”, yelled back the toddler.
If you are a parent and you can relate to this scene, chances are you may be responsible for your toddler’s behavior. Simple steps can make your toddler change her attitude but only if you change yours.
The first step in the healing process is to admit that you might be as stubborn as your child. Your answers to most of her requests may be “no”. Therefore, she does the same. You should not say “no” to your child unless you have a good reason and by that I mean that her demand is either forbidden in Islam, dangerous, or you are sick. If none of the mentioned reasons is true, then say “yes”. The less “nos” your child receives, the more “yeses” you will get in return.
Respond to your child’s needs so that she learns to trust you and rely on you. Don’t let her feel that her tears don’t mean much to you but don’t hand her anything just because she is crying for it. Express to her that you understand that she is upset and state the reason you believe is behind her anger. Give her words to express her feelings instead of tears or worse screams. When you have her attention, list your reasons for saying “no”.
Change the subject
Sometimes the wisdom relies not in the confrontation but in changing the subject. In the example of the toddler grabbing the keys and refusing to hand it back. The child is too young and the parking lot is not the best place to hold a discussion with a toddler. The solution may lay in the mother’s purse or pockets. Holding another interesting toy or item that you’re not afraid of losing may be just the easiest solution. Show it to the toddler and explain how cute it is in an enthusiastic way. The child may drop the keys or you may be able to make a quick switch while admiring the toy.
Toddlers go through phases of independence and the last thing you want is a confrontation with an independent toddler who relies on you all the time.
©Marwa Sabry 2007
A mother who studies the art of childhood and a Project Corners