My toddler is really flexing her muscles. Her attitude is out of control. I want to support her fire but I also really don’t like the ‘tude.
Yup, toddlers start to push back and make their voices louder and louder as they wade deeper into their twos. They go past just the “no” stage into real attitude and sass.
Give your child the words and tone you want to hear and don’t respond until you hear it back – and not just a little better. Make sure they articulate what they want calmly and clearly before you move on. Let them know that it is OK to have strong feelings, and it is OK to not want to put your shoes on, clean up, or take a bath. It is not OK to scream and be unkind. Don’t let them get away with this behavior. It only escalates and they will not grow out of it unless parameters are drawn. It will just get BIGGER and LOUDER.
If your child yells at you and refuses to complete a task, stay calm and let them know that they have to finish it before they can do anything else. This is called the Stuck Method. However, sometimes there isn’t enough time for this approach so other forms of follow-through are needed. For example, put away the toy they are playing with for the day, explaining that it is causing them to not take care of their responsibilities. Do the task for them (put their coat or shoes on, pick out their outfit) as kids like to do these things on their own. Explain that they can do the task themselves when they are in a calm and respectful mood. You can also put them to bed early, explaining that they are proving too tired to make the safe and kind choices expected of them.
This transition can be tough at first. This was your baby just moments ago and now, they’ve transformed into a KID. A kid with vocalized ideas and plans and wants and not-wants. However, this is what makes this stage so fun to be a part of. Your child is growing up, changing, and morphing into an autonomous human being. This is wonderful, except in the moments when our tiny human beings are unkind and sharp in their tone.
Tackle this ‘tude early on and you will save yourself from big ‘tude later. Mentor your kids so they can express their strong and opposing opinions in calm, composed ways. As I like to say: keep the spark, lose the snark.
Brandi Davis, ACC, is a professional Parenting Coach, Parent Educator, and Author of O.K. I’m A Parent Now What? She can also be found on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and be sure to catch her parenting podcasts on iTunes. The goal of Brandi’s practice is to bring respect, calm communication, teamwork, and FUN into the home or classroom. To discover all that Child and Family Coaching can bring to your family stop by www.childandfamilycoaching.com.
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