Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Learning to say No

I know I have touched on the topic of saying 'no' on my blog before.  And right now, temper tantrums are a regular thing in our household.  Now that my child is approaching the 'terrible two's' I can see where they get that saying.  But I still choose to look at it as more of a 'I'm trying to exert my independence stage.'

Of course language delays are still a source of the problem with my child not able to get her point across as easily and gets frustrated.

Toddlers love saying the word 'no', but it's even harder for parents to say it and mean it too!  It's so easy to set a limit and say no and give in, because the crying, whining and temper tantrums will stop instantly the moment we give in.  It's like giving a child a pacifier.

But giving in now, will only set the stage for a spoiled and whiny child in the future, not to mention a child who will be running the household.  Ever seen kids like that before? Not a pretty sight.

Toddlers act as if the world is ending when we say no! Tears, tears and more tears.  But sticking to it and holding your ground, as hard as it seems, will pay off in the long run.

Believe me, my child has daily tantrums and her main ones are when I tell her 'no' to having more Juice Plus chewies, watching Elmo all day long, no to standing on her little table and no to coloring on some piece of furniture.

As parents we are there to teach them right from wrong and that we don't always get our way in life.  If we don't, we will end up that stage mom on American Idol trying to convince the judges that our child is going to be picked!  In real life, unfortunately there is rejection, so learning that we won't always get what we want is a powerful and important lesson.

If your child is older, it's important to set limits as well but also to let them tell their side to teach them how to reason.  It lets them know that their parents care and want to listen to them, even if the final answer is still no.

If you feel like you are saying no all day long, some parents suggest having a 'yes' chart.  Explain to your child you are going to keep track of all the nos and yeses on a chart and if at the end of the day if there are more yeses to limits set, then he will have a special activity to do together.

What else can we do to decrease temper tantrums (and say the word 'no' less)?:

- Use alternatives such as 'I know you want to throw that toy, but toys are not for throwing because they might hurt someone or break. If you want to throw something, you can go outside and throw a ball' or  "Trash is dirty, not for touching!"

-Have that 'look' such as shaking your head so they understand

- When you take your child to one of those "I want it all" stores like Target or Toys r Us, make sure they understand before you go in there that you are not buying a toy, or if you are, if it's just for a friend's birthday and bring their own toy with them and a snack to keep them happy.

Also remember to take their developmental stage into consideration!  This is a big one.  It is hard to witness parents being super hard on their kids and making unreasonable expectations.  Such as expecting a 2 year old to keep their room completely clean and punishing them if it's not. Or expecting your 2 year old to use a fork correctly :)

If you are looking for a good book that talks about developmental expectations on each level (social, emotional, etc.), Ages and Stages is always a good reference:




  1. You're right, it is so much easier to say yes to a crying child than no. It nips it in the bud quick, but now I know if I just try to stand my ground, it will pay off in the long run.