So your little one is finally at the stage where they’ve started looking you straight in the eyes and saying ‘No’ to everything you ask them to do.
“Finish your food.” “No!”
“Don’t pick on your little sister.” “No!”
“Go to sleep.” “No!”
And on it goes. At one point, babies reach a phase of their life where ‘No’ becomes their favourite word. On a serious note, though, when your child starts defying you, it’s usually a sign that they’re growing up and are starting to view themselves as independent of their parents.
New parents, and even experienced ones, often use the wrong methods of dealing with defiant kids. Here are a few tips to deal with the situation in a better manner.
Don’t Get Over-Emotional
It can get hard to keep your calm when your three-year-old refuses to stop throwing cereal on the floor for the umpteenth time. But yelling in anger or screaming in frustration is not going to do you any good. If you show extreme emotions in front of children, they’re not going to hear what you’re saying; they’re only going to see what you’re doing. The key is to keep negative emotions at bay, count to three, get down to the child’s eye level and stay firm and serious while chastising them.
Put Yourself in Their Shoes
Imagine having to live a life where someone is always telling you what to do, what to wear, what to eat, where to go, and on and on. While kids do need structure in their lives, it can help to empathize with them. Growing kids may often feel as if they have zero autonomy which is why they rebel. Try to do things which show them that they have some semblance of control too.
Reinforce Good Behaviour
Little kids need to be reminded from time to time what’s wrong and right. Parents can do that by reaffirming when they display good behaviour and telling them when something’s not right and shouldn’t be done. Instead of nagging, try to encourage your kids to do good things; give them a word of praise or a little incentive for doing the right thing.
Knowing what triggers your toddler’s defiance can help you overcome it. Anticipate which situations bring out non-cooperation from your child. Usually, it’s a sleepy or hungry baby that throws tantrums. You can stay a step ahead by making sure their basic needs are taken care of so that they have no reason to be irritable.