You are the safe environment in which your child can practice for “the real world.” Your toddler can experience how it feels to say no.
So even though it’s exhausting and annoying as heck, next time (in about five minutes I imagine) your toddler says “no” to you, your cooking, your suggestions, your requests or your questions, just breathe in. And breathe out. And imagine your toddler as a teenager, saying no to all the girls that are smoking cigarettes or as a young adult saying no to the manager with no sense of boundaries.
If you can, try and honor your child’s no, by accepting it and finding an alternative together: flip-flops instead of shoes, cucumber instead of tomato, walking instead of a bike ride, a hug instead of a kiss. This way you both get what you need.
Your toddler will feel that “no” has a power that doesn’t end a conversation and starts a confrontation, but actually starts a conversation and ends an inner conflict. And you get to walk out of the door with a happy toddler in flip-flops. See? Win win.
Obviously this isn’t always a possibility or even safe. Sometimes your child just needs to listen to your yes. For instance, if the alternative involves a dangerous situation. If you are not the toughest cookie out there and have a hard time with being strict (me), distraction is your friend in situations where there isn’t an alternative to ‘no.’ And if that doesn’t work, there is always bribery. Just kidding. Kind of.
Oh, and yes, I know what you are thinking, she was probably saying “no” to me in her dream. I got the message, though.
Kari writes over at Columnsbykari.com – where you can find articles on parenting, style, beauty and health. She writes about breastfeeding, baby wearing, pregnancy, being a working mum, her love for make-up, skincare and fashion and her passion for yoga and eating plant based. You can also follow her on Instagram and Facebook.