Temper Tantrums, Defiance and Stubbornness in Toddlers and Preschoolers
Dealing with your preschooler or toddler's temper tantrums, power struggles, foot stomping, "NO!" yelling and other oh-so-charming behavior all the time these days? Ah yes, you've entered the stages of defiance and stubbornness. How will you get through the next few years of temper tantrums? Here's how to deal!
- A certain amount of negative, defiant behavior is totally normal. (We didn't say it wasn't still totally annoying!) But it's part of the kid turf. So when your preschooler or toddler has temper tantrums once in a while, don't freak out yourself. It'll only make things worse, especially for you.
- Don't take it personally. If your toddler is responding to all questions lately with a bratty "No!", know that this is not a personal attack on your authority. It's just your kid's new favorite word. (Try not to smile when she even blurts out "No!" to tempting treats and playdates for which you know she means "Yes"!) And try to limit your own "No" saying as well. Monkey see, Monkey do!
- Don't let on that her difficult behavior gets to you. Otherwise, she may continue the defiance because she knows it will reward her with more attention. Remember, letting them see you sweat out a preschooler or toddler temper tantrum just feeds into it.
- Offer choices. Defiance and stubbornness are all about establishing independence, so when possible, offer your kid two choices. (That's two not 12!) She'll obtain some safe control (on your terms) and hopefully, you'll avoid a blow up. However, if she refuses to choose from the options you've given her within a reasonable period of time, be prepared to make the decision for her.