Understanding “No”...

I knew this day would come! My almost 17mo is HARDCORE testing me these days, and I’m truly trying every method to start her understanding now so this doesn’t become a serious issue moving forward...when myself or my husband say “No” to something (she could be touching something that doesn’t belong to her, going somewhere she shouldn’t, etc.) it’s now FUNNY. She actually laughs if she reaches for something, I say NO in a firm tone and continues to reach for it. I’ve tried to do a “time out” type deal because she hates being sedentary, but it doesn’t seem to be working. I really want her to be able to follow directions. How did you begin to get through to your littles at this age??

  • Anonymous
    Sep 08

    I'm sorry to tell you but following directions is a developmental thing and will mean a lot of different things over the years. If you think it's rough at 17 months, just wait until she is 3. If you are constantly telling her no she is just going to push back even harder. Choose the battles that matter most, and find a happy medium for the rest. With my kids, the more attention you draw to something they are doing wrong, the more they will want to do it. You could try ignoring her if she's not doing something dangerous, but you can tell she's trying to get a reaction. Because kids want attention whether it is positive or negative. But honestly some days I would prefer a 17 mo over my threenager 🤣

  • Anonymous
    Sep 08

    (I read this on here) that the word no is just redundant and monotonous to toddlers. We try to reserve the actual word NO for actual danger (running into the street, touching the stove) and then for every day things re direction is your only answer. If she’s touching the tv screen just redirect with that direction you want and add re direction. “Uh oh we don’t touch the screen, can you bring mom the remote really quick?” Or going somewhere she shouldn’t “hey! Remember to wait for mom or dad to go upstairs, do you want to come get the legos out over here with me?” When trying to cook dinner and she’s trying to touch the knobs on the stove “ouch!!!! That could hurt you! Would you like to choose a wooden spoon to hold instead?”. Sometimes these options work and if she’s just making it a game I’d still physically remove her before saying “no no no blah blah blah”. Good luck mama, these toddlers are no joke!!

  • Anonymous
    Sep 08

    Like mentioned above, I reserved the word "no" for serious situations and often have to accompany it with a louder, more stern voice. With little things, like touching the fire place, holding the TV remote, or wanting to play with the chapstick, I try to redirect her. When my daughter had just turned one, her thing was touching the fire place. Every time she did we would take her hand and say "Don't touch it, that's dangerous" or "thats hot". She stopped pushing the boundaries with it after a couple weeks and we havent had an issue since. Shes heard the phrases "that's not for you baby" and "why are you touching that" so much that she will walk up to an object she wants to hold really bad but knows she isn't allowed to have and will say "thats not for you baby". A lot of people laughed and even criticized me when I would talk to my daughter in full sentences and have conversations with her. They would tell me to tell her "no" because she wouldn't be responsive to "dont touch that" or " why are you doing that". I stuck with it though and now at almost 2yo she can carry a conversation with full sentences and understand when she is doing something wrong.

  • Anonymous
    Sep 09

    I agree with above! Try explaining... even if they can’t talk, kids understand SO much more than you think. My husband was the same “he doesn’t understand you” but boooooooy does he

  • Momof2
    Sep 10

    Agree with the above about continuing to explain reasonings & redirection is also great! If my child is throwing something I don’t want her to throw that I give her something she CAN (throw like a ball). Let’s say she picked up a rock and was throwing it It might sound something like this: “Wow I can see you really want to throw right now, throwing things is so much fun! Rocks are dangerous to throw because they might hurt somebody if we hit them with a rock. Here’s a ball show me how far you can throw it!” I heard this other pointer on a podcast and I really liked it (once your daughter is more verbal). Instead of giving them the solution to the problem help them problem solve and come up with their own solution. For example in the scenario above instead of suggesting a ball you could say something like this: I see you really want to throw right now, throwing is so much fun! can you think of/find something else that you can throw that won’t hurt somebody? Plus if they come up with a solution on their own they’re more likely to buy into it than something that an adult suggests to them. Good luck!

  • antigrav_kids
    Sep 12

    The kids here did the same sort of things. It was just a matter of calmly, (no I didn't always manage to stay calm), reacting and stopping the kid. If they were headed for the door & I needed them to stay inside, that meant I picked them up and brought them back, over and over and over. Sometimes they melted down over it, sometimes they didn't. Over the course of weeks and months though, they finally quit doing the thing. I wish I had a quicker answer for you. If you're interested in my theory of why this all happens, I think they hit an age where they can do things, and the first thing that occurs to them is they might be in charge, so why not find out? :)

  • Winifred Z.
    check_circleChild Care Provider Sep 16

    Have you tried letting her know what she can do and explain the reasons behind “no”? Challenging behaviors can also be seen as connection seeking. Sometimes children do things to get attention from people. It seems like your child knows the cause and effect of her behaviors. During safe situations, stay calm and pretend you didn’t see her behaviors. Find another time when she’s not doing the behaviors to read books relating the the behavior, write a social story just for her or do puppet play to role play scenarios with expected behaviors to allow her to receive information from another point of view. Slowly incorporate questions to allow her to think what is appropriate or not. These strategies allow her to take control and feel respected. They won’t hurt her feelings/lower self esteem.