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By Dr. Heather
I love 2-year-olds. Really — I do. It’s amazing to see how much they’ve learned in their short time on the planet, and I’m actually reassured when I see them being “difficult.” In fact, when I evaluate a 2-year-old in my practice, I worry when I DON’T see signs of oppositional behavior. You see, babies are all about “YES.” They’re taking everything in and exploring. Toddlers, on the other hand, have progressed past the baby stuff and moved into limit-setting — which is all about “NO”. Where do I start and stop? What are Mom and Dad’s rules? (And how can a girl get some candy around here, anyway?) It’s developmentally appropriate for her to be challenging everything — and everyone.
But that’s not very reassuring to parents, I know. Parents at this stage get sick of hearing — and saying — “NO” all day long. Once your toddler has discovered The Power That Is No, you’ll encounter these common parenting frustrations:
Toddlers say “NO” with such glee. They almost don’t care what they’re saying “NO” to — as long as they can make their opinion heard. Keep your “Toddler Translator” running at all times, because often, “NO” doesn’t actually mean “NO.” It may mean, “I’m not exactly saying YES, but I’m at least reserving the right to remind you that I have my own opinion on this matter, and it’s MY opinion, regardless of what YOU say. And even if it happens to be the same opinion as yours – I don’t care, because I want it to be MY opinion. So — “NOOOO!!!!” (Just don’t quote her on that.)
Realizing your toddler isn’t a rational being is the first step to calming down about her negativity. Here are more tips to help you turn “NO” into “YES”:
Toddler tantrums give way to the fabulous fun of 3 and 4-year-olds. Take a look at my other blog post to learn about your preschooler’s creativity, and how to overcome the common fears that go along with this stage.