Our 21 month Daughter saying "NO" when we tell her to do something. How can we stop that?

Lydia - posted on 01/30/2010 ( 23 moms have responded )

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Our 21 month Daughter is starting her terrible 2s early & tells her daddy and I "NO" when we tell her to do something. We keep smacking her mouth or butt when she tells us " No". Which doesnt phase her at all & she starts having a Huge tantrum so we put her in the corner for time out. She still keeps telling us "No" right after she gets out. And we always explain to her why she is in trouble too. She has always been a good girl. She can be stubborn but we have never had this much trouble teaching her something. Any other suggestions to teach her that she doesn't tell us "NO" when we tell her to do something?

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Geralyn - posted on 02/03/2010

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My son (also 21 months) just discovered the word "No," too, and he has experimenting with it. We are trying to teach the appropriate use of the word no, for example, "No thank you." When it comes to saying no when asked to do something, we continue to talk with him and follow through on what we asked.



I personally do not believe in hitting or spanking to correct behavior in any situation. But this is a bit unique because its the first time that the toddler would be getting punished for learning to communicate - by saying "No" - instead of crying, protesting, etc. I understand that the word at least in some contexts isn't preferred, but we want to promote verbal communication. At 21 months, they are still learning the "rules." Communicate, communicate, communicate is the key....

Maria - posted on 02/14/2010

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You can't make her stop telling you no. It is part of her naturally asserting her independence, and separating her identity from you. It's a GOOD thing for her to tell you no. Smacking her is not good for her or you, and is just making it worse, because you are not allowing her to learn appropriate behavioral boundaries.



What you do is let her tell you no, and then explain to her that you understand she doesn't want to do it, but she must. And most importantly, give them a chance to choose their behavior and the consequences. While you are the parent and have ultimate authority of your child, happier children (and people in general) feel as if they have some kind of control over their lives. Let me give you an example:



I ask my daughter to pick up her blocks, and she says "No, I don't want to!" Then I say, "I understand you don't want to pick up your blocks. But if you don't pick up your blocks, then I'm going to take them away so you can't play with them anymore."



Or, she really values being able to do things for herself, so if she's dilly-dallying around while putting her clothes on, and I'm in a hurry, I'll tell her, "If you don't get your shirt on right now, I'm going to put it on for you." Works like a charm!



Good luck. And the next two years are going to very challenging!

Rebecca - posted on 02/07/2010

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While I do believe in spanking when it is warrented, I don't use it when my son tells me "no." It is very normal for kids at this age to say "no" even if they mean "yes," or to do it in jest because some adults think it's cute and reinforce this behavior. Communication is still new, and I would HATE to punish him for something that he really doesn't know he's doing or why.

When I tell him to do something, and he tells me "no," I tell him "yes, Mommy said sit down" (or whatever I told him to do), then I make it happen. I sit him down, or put him where I told him to go, or I (gently) take whatever I was asking for. Then I tell him "thank you" as if he'd done it on his own, so he knows that I appreciate him doing as he's asked. Then, I move on.

At this age, with children testing the limits, a lot of times they will continue any behavior that gets a reaction, just because they are in control. Cause and effect is something they are just figuring out. They KNOW if they do something, you will react a certain way, and sometimes that is what they are after. Making a big deal out of something can put them in control instead of you. You are becoming their experiment, and THEY are making the calls. MAke sure you are picking your battles, and make sure this is the one you want to pick.

[deleted account]

Have you asked her "why" she is saying no? She may actually have a valid reason or she may just be saying the word in a way that she doesn't understand. She's just two after all. Popping her on the mouth doesn't really help anyone. Research show that children who are spanked, grow up to be more violent. It also shows that you as a parent cannot control your own actions without anger. You will have to decide what type of role model you wish to be to this precious kid who is just acting her age. Is your child just saying "no" to say the word or is she being defiant? If it is definat, realize that this is normal behavior as she learns her limits. She is counting on you to teach them to her in a loving but effective way. Tell her that if she continues to say "no" she will go to time out. If she keeps at it, you will take her favorite toy for an hour. Ultimatley, I like to suggest to parents that they be their child's teacher. Teach her how to communicate the way that you want.

Amy - posted on 01/06/2011

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All 18-2 year olds [and up] Will tell you no. They test boundaries. She probably said no to whatever you asked her to do, then after gets spanked is saying no to object to that. You can't tell a 2 year old in an open question "do you want to do this?" it will always be no. When asking to do things, it should start with "we are doing this"and guide them to go with you to help do said task. You can't ask TOO much of a 2 year old. I mean, our son is the same age and he sets the table and will fetch his own diaper. But I can't say go pick up the toys. He will pick them up and play, not put them away. You have to go with them and start doing it and they are great copycats and usually go along. I am for spanking in certain situations. For a 2 year old just saying no....not my idea of a good time for this form of discipline. Even when she's 16 if you ask her if she wants to take out the trash, she's going to say no. A lot of dealing with a 2 year old is approach. What kinds of things are you asking her to do? If I may ask.

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Lauren - posted on 01/05/2011

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Smacking her in the mouth or butt ? All that does is teach her it's okay to smack..but i guess if she was to start doing it back then you would tell her off? so you shouldn't do it to her... and i've heard of people smacking their babies/children on the butt,which by the way is wrong, but c'mon in the mouth??? what are you thinking? all it takes is a simple 'yes' or 'mummy says yes' and encourage her to actually do it. of course smacking her will make her have a tantrum!

Adrian - posted on 02/14/2010

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My daughter is almost 21 months and she has been telling me NO since she was 16 months old... I do think that it is just something that babies their age tend to do, mainly because they hear it from us so much! I am the oldest child of 4 (with a huge age difference) and I know for a fact that no often means yes, kids are better at reverse psychology than we adults... lol... just be patient, I know that is hard to do when you find yourself growing aggrivated, they will grow out of it!

Angela - posted on 02/14/2010

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My son also says no, but it's normal. They get it from us saying no all the time. I don't think it deserves a spanking or a slap though. I save those for when he does something really bad. Your daughter is just being a normal toddler, and she's still pretty young. She'll learn to do as you say as she gets older. She may start to resent you if she gets slapped for something as small as saying no. At least she's not using curse words, or hitting back. But she may start hitting back if your not careful. I believe in spankings, and I have only smacked my son in the mouth once, and that's after he back handed me in the mouth when he was angry. If you don't have to slap your child, I wouldn't. My mom told me that it can make them skiddish as they get older. She's probably not sayig no all the time to make you mad, she's just testing her boundaries. When you ask her to do something, and she says no, you should go do it with her and let her know that even if she says no that she won't get away with not having to do what she was told. Good luck :)

Gina - posted on 02/13/2010

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It is extremely disheartening that you so easily express that you are smacking your child for saying NO! I am not ANTI hitting but you better believe that I use every other option out there before it gets to that point! By hitting all you are teaching your child is that someone they trust to protect them is inflicting pain and then you will be the one to turn around and tell them they cannot hit others! ALL actions have reactions and you are just creating a bigger problem for yourself down the road!

The best way to stop a bad habit is by encouraging the proper way to do things! We are there teachers ~ they learn the life skills from us! What would you do if your boss smacked you in the face for saying no, you would throw a tantrum. I don’t have all the answers but I strongly encourage you to think about the way you are handling situations not only for your benefit but for your child’s!!!!

Kayce - posted on 02/12/2010

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Okay so i'm very different from these other mom's.. I do belive in spanking my child on his butt or on his hand and only in the mouth when he spits or bites. My son is now 20 months old and he has started telling me no as well and I just trell him to say "no thank you" and make him do it anyway because he has no choice. And you have to be consistant. He now only tells me no when he is joking (what a personality) But I wouldn't spank him over that, it's just a stage. She will stop soon! Good luck and don't let others make you feel bad for spanking your child, we all have our own way of parenting!

Amy - posted on 02/12/2010

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smacking you daughter is not the answer.She is still a baby.I am anti slapping or smacking. Thats just me...... you can reason with her. they all go through this stage. they are learning and trying to express themselves. have a naughty step or mat and keep putting her on it. And as far as tantrums go ignore her and tell her when she is calm she can come and have a cuddle with mommy. it works for us.
no is a favourite word around my house. also the word boring. We let it go over our heads.

Juduth - posted on 02/09/2010

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honestly, when our first child went through this, we took the s.t.e.p. parenting course...has worked like a dream ever since. we have three kids, and none of them have behavioral issues that drive us bonkers...it is a tremendous system! not to put out a commercial or anything, but i would definitely recommend it. also, giving choices might be a good idea. like "you can do ask i ask or you can go and sit on your bed"...for whatever reason, 2-4 year olds are super into the democratic approach! :D good luck!

[deleted account]

Children that age don't really understand the word "don't." What worked for us when our daughter was that age was to tell her what she COULD do, or to demonstrate what we wanted her to do. (e.g. "Don't touch that." became, "Keep your hands to your sides. Just like this." (and show her). Also, keeping the environment child-friendly was a must as well. It's very important that children be allowed to explore their environment as much as possible. So unless something was absolutely unsafe for her, I let her play with it. If something was unsafe then I put it too high for her to reach when possible. (Not possible for the litter box). :) But otherwise, I let her make messes and take books off bookshelves and such because it's really important for her proper development.

Reanen - posted on 02/09/2010

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I found that reacting to "No" simply encourages my two year old to continue. When he says no I tell him he needs to say no thank you and he is catching on. At this age I don't think they realize the disrespect in saying no, so I think a lot of issues arise from our reactions. I also let him know that mommy needs him to do what I ask and that he does not have a choice at the time. Lastly you really want to pick your battles, it may be more of a headache than necessary to force them into anything (Other than safetly issues) at this point. It will pass:)

Joanne - posted on 02/09/2010

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why are you smacking her at all??? how is that going to teach her anything???? You need to be patient. Use time out!!! It will work ..Be consistent, no matter what. But don't hit omg!!!

Melissa - posted on 02/09/2010

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negative attention is still attention. just say calmly(or very stern), that word is unacceptable and turn your back to her. she may like the rise she gets out of you, so the less reaction, the better.

Sonia - posted on 02/08/2010

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Good responses here!! I would just recommend to teach her replacement phrases and if serious then use time-outs, you have to decide and be consistant what you use time-out for. We use it mostly for behaviors that are hurting others, excessive temper tantrums that cannot be redirected, or damage to things:) It sounds funny but I had to teach my 2yr old to say "Ok mommy" and "yes mommy" as she was in a rut for awhile too, but eventually now she says "sure mommy" and melts my heart each time!!

Kelly - posted on 02/07/2010

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Ignore her. It's an annoying little word that all kids this age say. Smacking her won't do anything but upset her, and if she does deserve a time out, put her in a short one, so she can understand why she's in it. Keep the reasoning short and to the point, she won't understand a long explanation. 2 year old are stubborn, they're just trying to exert their independence and test their boundaries. All toddlers want to the "the boss."

Giseli - posted on 02/06/2010

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Very normal,my daughter was like that,until she learned the word yes,she says no sometimes bit it got a little better.its just the age:)

Stephanie - posted on 02/06/2010

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my son is 28 months old and he does the same thing... he likes to tell us no when we TELL him to do something...but i think there are better ways to deal with it...i have never hit my son because i grew up in an abusive home...the thing is by smacking him in the mouth or butt you are teaching him that it is ok to hit people and there may be even bigger issues with that in the future...



there are a few things i can suggest...when you want her to do something give her an option so she feels in control... do you want to cuddle with mommy or would you like mommy to cuddle with you... they both get the same result but by giving her the option she feels in control and is more likely to do what you want ..

you could also try the reward system...get a sticker book and tell her if you help mommy clean up the toys you can pick a sticker or two because toys are usually a big mess...lol to put in your book ... or if you do this you can ...do something she enjoys



when things like that do not work then time outs work but they say not to leave your child in time out for more minutes than their age at one time so my son is 2 and he gets 2 minute time outs then i ask him why he had time out and he apologizes then its an i love you with a big kiss and if he still is misbehaving i turn his tv show off or i take his favorite toy away ...even if he is not playing with it it upsets him because its his favorite



this kind of punishment works very well but you have to remember to explain why she is in trouble or she wont know for next time... at this age they do learn quickly but it does take time to understand what they are learning

please give these options a try and i wish you luck in the years to come

Miranda - posted on 02/04/2010

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My daughter, also 21 months does the same thing. I don't believe in physical punishment but I just put her in time out. She continues to do it but at this stage in life, they're very stubborn and want to test you to see what they can get away with. Be firm, but remember they've only been on earth for less than two years, and have only learned to talk less than a year ago. They're experimenting! It drives me crazy and sometimes I just want to yell back and say "YES! MOMMY SAYS YES!" but that doesn't teach any better behavior so as I said, I just tell her "that's not a nice word. Say 'No thank you, Mommy/Daddy". Good luck!

[deleted account]

i have a 2 year old and he sometimes does that. but i really dont make a huge deal about it, i just tell him YES- and mommy said so. and then i just tell him again and let him know that "no" isnt even an option. he can be stubborn to but sometimes i just gotta pick my battles and wonder if if is even worth making a big deal about it. i just always let him no that its not even his choice. i wouldnt always do a spanking about this issue though, she might end up resenting you in the long run. i do an occasional spanking, but it has little effect in the long run. my son says no once in a while, but he listens pretty well. just let ur dautghter know that u mean busisness- and its unacceptable for her to say otherwise. i think this might just be a phase though- so dont worry about it too much. good luck to you !!

[deleted account]

This is VERY normal for any 2 or almost 2 yr old. Testing the bounderies is what they do now, and want to see what you will allow them to get away with and what they have control over. The biggest thing is BE CONSISTANT. Time outs will work. Use the time out chair for one-two minutes. Take her to the chair. Explain to her why she is getting set there and let her be there. She can sing, move around, but her butt cannot move off the seat without more time coming on :) The idea here is teaching her that you have control, not her. After the alloted time, have her come to you, ask her why she had to sit in time out and she is a little young and won't tell you yet, so explain it to her again. Have her apologize and tell her you love her. If it happens again, do the same exact thing. This may take weeks or even, dare I say months, but your efforts will be rewarded. If you start spanking now, you may find that later that she will start slapping back, and then you have the whole "I can spank you, but you cannot hit me" thing going, and you have to start all over with that one. You can always try soap in the mouth too. I still remember my mom doing that one to me :) It was with Dial liquid soap! I don't think I got in an argument with her for a long time after that one :)

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