|

Don't Overuse the Word "No"

Q-tip

Be positive. Parents often forget that a toddler's social behavior is motivated not only by a desire to avoid displeasing others (especially parents), but also by a genuine desire to please. All too often, parents offer behavioral guidelines only in negative terms. If you take the time to praise good behavior often enough, your child will eventually make an effort to repeat it.

Like all toddlers, your child needs to be allowed to explore her environment. This exploration is part of her growing independence, confidence, and separation from you. (Don't worry, your child won't separate too much for many more years to come.) If you want your toddler to make the most of her early adventures, you'll need not only to provide her with the opportunity to make new discoveries, but actually to encourage exploration and experimentation.

Constantly having to tell your toddler "No!" will do exactly the opposite. It pointedly discourages your child from exploring her environment-at least parts of it.

In addition, the sternness and suddenness with which you say, "No!" will probably frighten your child. Many toddlers burst into tears, falling apart whenever their parents say, "No!" In general, your toddler doesn't like to do anything that displeases you. Oh, your child certainly has a will of her own. And when push comes to shove, your toddler would much rather get what she wants than sacrifice it for the sake of avoiding your displeasure. Nonetheless, conflict with you, a clash between your desires (for her safety, for example) and hers (for free reign) is very scary for your toddler. It feels dangerous to displease you. In your child's mind, the thought of your disapproval is equated with rejection, and therefore intensifies any abandonment fears.

So try to avoid saying, "No!" all of the time. Whenever you do say it, follow up by comforting your child. Explain in concrete terms why you wanted your toddler to stop doing what she was doing (danger to herself, danger or harm to others, and so on). Above all, emphasize that even when you get angry at her, you still love your child. Toddlers, so richly anchored in the present, often have a hard time realizing this.

More on: Preschool

|

Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Parenting a Preschooler and Toddler, Too © 1997 by Keith M. Boyd, M.D., and Kevin Osborn. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

To order this book visit Amazon's web site or call 1-800-253-6476.


highlights

Vote Now for the Children's & Teen Choice Book Awards
Voting is open now through May 3 for the Children's and Teen Choice Book Awards — the only national book awards program where the winning author, illustrator, and books of the year are selected by young readers. Encourage your child to vote for his favorites today!

Find Today's Newest & Best Children's Books!
Looking for newly released books for your child? Try our new Book Finder tool to search for new books by age, type, and theme, and create reading lists for kids!

10 Best Outdoor Toys of 2015
Looking for an amazing toy that will keep your child playing outside until the sun goes down? See our picks for 10 hot new outdoor toys for all ages.

Registered for Kindergarten — Now What?
Wondering what to do now that you've signed your child up for kindergarten? Try our award-winning Kindergarten Readiness app! This easy-to-use checklist comes with games and activities to help your child build essential skills for kindergarten. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Facebook icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks