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Feel like I'm constantly saying "No"

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  • Feel like I'm constantly saying "No"

    Hi there,

    I have a discipline issue that I'm hoping some of you can help with. I should say right off the bat that I'm feeling a little clueless about how to practice attachment parenting with a toddler, especially when it comes to discipline. AP was something that seemed very intuitive and natural when he was an infant, but I find myself scratching my head a lot more these days!

    Basically I feel like I am constantly saying "No" to him, and I hate how that makes me feel. I feel like I am creating a negative environment for him and stifling his curiosity. It isn't necessarily that he is doing things he shouldn't be, but rather, it seems like he wants everything he can't have! He is a very curious child, which is something I value, but unfortunately he is most interested in things he isn't allowed to have (like scissors, mommy's medicine, daddy's coffee, etc.). I've tried a number of strategies to deal with this, but none of them have consistently helped. For example, I've tried to explain to him in simple terms that something isn't safe or is "For Moms & Dads, not kids." I've also tried distraction, but he is a very focused and single-minded child. And I have also tried to minimize temptation as much as possible, but I can't get rid of everything in my home!

    Does anyone have any other suggestions? Book recommendations are always welcome, although I have so little time to read these days that I often wish they made Cliff Note versions


  • #2
    How old is he? (I'm guessing 12-18 months)



    • #3
      I can definitively relate to that! My daughter is 2 and is just like that... what has worked for me is creating a yes-environment, you don't have to get rid of your stuff, but it'll help to hide stuff that you don't want him to play with.... also, you can help him explore with your supervision... this way his curiosity is satisfied way faster than you think and then she is off to something else....

      this may sound a bit strange but what I did with the scissors curiosity for example was to actually let her play with them... not by herself of course... I gave her a piece of paper, I showed her how to hold them, told her to be careful with the sharp parts, and while holding her hand we cut the paper several times (her hand is too little to actually hold the scissors and cut), we did several cuts and that was that... off she was to play with something else.... then hide away the scissors just in case....

      now, if I say no, then she persists and persists... so I rather show her myself than have her try to climb somewhere to get the scissors while I shower


      • #4
        Originally posted by sscrawford View Post
        Book recommendations are always welcome, although I have so little time to read these days that I often wish they made Cliff Note versions.
        well, it's not cliff notes version,, but alfie kohn does have a DVD version of Unconditional Parenting.

        i completely understand your frustrations. ds2 was soooo much more difficult in this area than ds1. it seemed like he ONLY wanted what he COULDN"T have! (sending him a couple days a week to a montessori really helped as it is a TOTAL YES environment)

        try to retrain your brain to speak in positive turns. so, instead of "no, you can't have the knives" say, "you want the knives. that's an adult's work. here, have some pots and pans to bang w/this cool wooden spoon."

        in simplest turns, describe what he CAN do, or behaviors you want to see.

        [ok, i totally just blew that, i told my toddler, 'no, you can't eat the bag of chocolate chips. those are for the cookies tomorrow!]


        • #5
          Originally posted by Jessica View Post
          How old is he? (I'm guessing 12-18 months)

          Oops, forgot to mention that crucial bit of info! He just recently turned two


          • #6
            At this age I found getting out of the house really important. A playground or play group where he could explore to his heart's content helped give him an outlet for all his curiosity, tired him out and was a less stressful environment for me.