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When your child says ‘NO’

564462_10151322114664505_1680736910_n1On a bright note, we are in year 2 of this life-long adventure we call parenthood. My son is learning this word, “NO”–I believe it is his favorite word.

So, some days at this age can go like this :

  1. The 2-year-old starts the morning by screaming, “No, me do it!” when you pour the milk on his cereal.
  2. Then he flat-out refuses to put away any of the toys he’s taken out.
  3. Later, the child has a full-fledged tantrum because he happens to be playing with his friends when you arrive to pick him up at daycare.

My son’s go-to move–when it comes to meltdowns–is the wet-noodle maneuver.  It is a tactic that sometimes works as he throws in the stiff-as-a board move as well… Going back-and-forth–like you’re the Borg and he is re-modulating to escape your tractor beam.

Maybe he thinks his big brother gets more attention than he does. Or, maybe he doesn’t like it when he’s being asked to comply with my request.

His challenging behavior may not always be appropriate, but it’s to be expected at this age. This is sometimes the tough part to get my head around–I can remember when my child was sweet and nice and did what I asked. Sometimes now I watch him sleep–all peaceful, cute looking–and, then, an hour later, he is creating his own disaster, with the thoughts of calling FEMA in for relief help.

The truth is… dealing with a defiant 2-year-old is a notoriously difficult part of child-rearing. (They don’t call it the “terrible twos” for nothing.) When my child shouts, “No!” or hurls himself on the ground–kicking and screaming–it’s no fun.

Yeah, it’s “normal”–he’s caught up in the excitement (and frustration) that come with his budding autonomy. He wants to explore his world and test his limits. At the same time, he’s struggling to learn how to understand (and control) his actions, impulses, and feelings.

We may ALL end up with a few gray hairs when it’s all over, but we’ll survive largely intact by trying to understand where your child is coming from (and by handling his stormy reactions with care).

About Don Jackson

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