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need advice/help...

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 
My 1 1/2 yo is something else. I have 5 kids, and she is by far the most challenging. When you ask her to do something she just smiles and either just stands there, or does the exact opposite of what you asked.
I need some (nonspanking) ideas on getting her to listen. I feel so frustrated.
post #2 of 3
Did your other kids follow verbal instructions really well at her age? If they did, they're unusual; that is typically the age when kids are just starting to show that they understand most of what you say. Is it possible you're remembering what your older kids were like when they were 2 or 3, instead of 1 1/2?

When a toddler does the exact opposite of what you said, there are four common reasons for it:
  • You said, "Don't do X!" and she doesn't understand that phrasing yet; the word that got through to her was "X" so she's doing it.
  • You said, "Could you please X?" as if it were a question, so she thinks you're giving her a choice; she chooses not to do what you asked.
  • She understood what you said, but she really, really wants to do the other thing and can't resist.
  • Past experiences (not necessarily with you) have given her the idea that when people say what you've just said, they don't really mean it, and when she does the opposite they'll think it's cute.
The best way around those first two things is to say what you WANT, not what you don't want, and say it in a firm tone with no questioning sound. For the last one, of course, avoid acting like disobedience is cute or just shrugging it off; gently show her that you meant it.

In general, with toddlers it's best to "help" them do what you need them to do, if they didn't get it on the first try; physically guide her to do it while repeating the instructions in a gentle but firm voice. That helps her to understand exactly what you mean. When you can't do this because you have your hands full, if what you want her to do is to STOP doing something problematic, try to redirect her attention to something totally different that she can do.
post #3 of 3
Thread Starter 
Thank you. This seems like great advice, and I think you're right, maybe I'm not remembering this exact age. The thing that's driving me crazy the most is that she smiles while disobeying. It does seem she believes she's being cute.
Thanks again.
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