One of the most frustrating stages of toddlerhood can be when a child learns to master the word, “No.” Between the ages of 15 and 30 months, a toddler begins to realize that they are a separate person from their parents; a person who has their own will and their own mind. As this realization sets in, a child begins to discover their independence and begins to practice asserting this independence to all who will listen. It’s this stage of development that is usually marked by a child singing a seemingly continuous chorus of a loud and proud, “No.”
When you call your child, does it seem like he’s wearing ear plugs? After the third or fourth request, do you have to go and get him? Here’s something to consider. Perhaps your child has learned exactly what you’ve taught him - the first three calls are just warm-ups, and that you don’t really need him to move until you come and get him. But this routine can change!
We’ve all faced those moments - demands, pleading, whining, raised voices, crying, screaming and other manners of lashing out. These are examples of how toddlers misbehave, sometimes in public. These moments often seem to occur when a parent is depleted or harried, and not in their best mindset. And even if a parent is, a toddler melting down in public can quickly take a parent to a place they’d rather not be - discomfort and embarrassment.
When it comes to children’s behavior, a parent’s first question is usually, “What should I do?” We tend to want to fix it or get it under control. But it’s important to understand that the behaviors we see in our children are merely the tip of the iceberg; the bulk of behavior issues stem from below the surface. What we see on the surface is a natural extension of the development that’s occurring underneath. Rather than fight against it, parents will find more success in working with a child’s development to teach behavior.
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