I had a parent ask me a question today that really made me stop and think.
I was standing in Target, telling my son that we were all done playing with the toys, when a parent who watched as my son proceeded to ignore me said, “Oh, so your son’s in the “NO” phase now huh?”
And that really made me stop and think.
What the parent had meant was that I too, must now have joined the ranks of every parent who’s gone through a supposedly horrible phase of toddlerhood where the toddler says “NO” to absolutely everything I ask him to do.
So I stopped and tried to think, “When was the last time my son told me NO?”
And I couldn’t honestly think of a time.
Now maybe my son’s just not at that phase yet, or maybe he’s perfect But that question made me think about the number one thing my son does say… so I turned to the parent and said, “No, he’s not in the “No” phase, he’s in the “Let Me Do It” phase.
My son wants to do everything himself.
He wants to wash his own hands, dress himself, put his own shoes on, unlock our front door with the keys and anything else you could imagine a 2 1/2 year old wanting to do.
And you know what? I let him. And I think that’s why my son isn’t going through a “No” phase. When he’s doing something that I don’t think he should be doing I’ve really focused on re-training myself to ask him “Why” are you doing that, instead of instantly thinking he’s being disobedient. And what I’ve noticed is that 9 times out of 10 he actually has a pretty good reason for doing what most parents would think was a disobedient behavior. So when I really need him to stop doing something he usually will stop doing it because he knows Daddy plays fair.
If you’re interested in a really clever program for working with your toddler on disobedience issues, you should check out Talking to Toddlers, which is a great program that will really open your eyes to non-manipulative ways to get your toddler to behave.