“What do you do when they say NO, NO! Some days 10 times. “ (2 1/2 year old)
We know that the child’s primary goal is to belong. So where did the child get the idea that saying “NO” repeatedly is the way to get attention and belong? Hum... Could we, the adults have been sending mixed messages? I’m sure all parents of 2 year olds can relate to saying “NO” to your child. When we do this we literally train them to do as we say. At 2 1/2 years old it is your child’s job to separate from you, to take a stand and to use his voice. Since adults have modeled “taking a stand” in using their voice to say “NO” they need to be prepared to have it come back to them as a natural progression in the development of the child.
SO, what to do? Try understanding that your child is meeting his developmental needs to separate and become himself. This will give you the patience you need to take time for training while you offer more tools. He’s using the tools he has.
When possible let him have his boundaries, his “NO ,NO,NO”, so that he can feel powerful. Stick up for YOUR really important needs and expectations and let the rest go by changing what you say to him. Model another response. Try a simple “No thank you” each time he says “NO”. Repetition, the adults learning better modeling behavior and time will prevail.
Have fun!! When he says “NO, NO”, sing back “NO, NO NO NO NO NO NO NO”, using a familiar tune. Try singing back “YES,YES ,YES’.” Make it fun for both of you. It’s just a phase and you’ll be through it before you know it. Who knows, someday you might look back on these times with fondness.