Seriously, When will my two year old understand the word "No" - Mothering Forums
Life with a Toddler > Seriously, When will my two year old understand the word "No"
August09baby's Avatar August09baby 10:50 PM 02-11-2009
Am I expecting too much? I know DS knows what "no" means, but the word does not seem to make him stop what he is doing. I have also tried other words, "stop", "come here", "look at this" as ways to get him to stop what he is doing (playing in the dogs water, climbing on the kitchen cabinets, climbing on the table, etc. etc., etc).

UGH...what age can I expect he will actually be able to listen??!!

brackin's Avatar brackin 10:52 PM 02-11-2009
I think it's personality. Some children, like DD, take a lot longer to respond to "no," but DS, who is 2, responds very well.
lotusdebi's Avatar lotusdebi 10:52 PM 02-11-2009
Beats me. I'm having the same problem with my toddler. My now-6-year-old never grew out of it. He still ignores me, Maybe when they're 30?
alegna's Avatar alegna 11:07 PM 02-11-2009
It's not developmentally appropriate to expect a 2 yr old to be able to control their impulses. 3 or 4 is more realistic for most situations.

-Angela
Rosehip's Avatar Rosehip 11:49 PM 02-11-2009
Maybe, MAYBE after college. Sorry.
tanyalynn's Avatar tanyalynn 12:44 AM 02-12-2009
For my kids, it came down to their internal motivation to please me. Kid #1? Not so much, she's 5 and we still struggle with rules that I have that she does not value. I've explained the rational reason behind said rules, that seems to be slowly making an impact, but it's not magic. Kid #2? Understood and mostly complied at a ridiculously early age because he is a really different kid. A good solid outing where the kids can run around, really run, helps somewhat, but even then the difference comes down to temperament.
Jessica1501's Avatar Jessica1501 03:43 AM 02-12-2009
My baby is 13 months. I think she really understands the word "NO" because she stops what she's doing for a while and look at me when I say No. BUT she doesn't want to listen to me and still continues doing that with caution (doing that slowly while looking at me).
I read somewhere that you can use "time-out" method to teach kids to stop what they are not allowed to do.
SparklingGemini's Avatar SparklingGemini 04:37 AM 02-12-2009
Could you be overusing it?

Toddlers are good at tuning things out that they hear repeatedly.

We hold off on "no" unless it an emergent type situation.

August09baby's Avatar August09baby 12:36 PM 02-14-2009
Thanks for the responses and suggestions! Especially the humor - it is all a bit easier to take when laughing! DH and I have been laughing at the thought that DS will finally understand the word "no" when he is done with college for days
mrsshunk's Avatar mrsshunk 06:14 PM 02-14-2009
Look for a book/video at your library called "123 Magic". My stubborn two-year old has responded very positively to this method of gentle discipline. And DS was an absolute hell raiser. He listens and is much more cooperative about everything including going to bed without a fuss. "No" doesn't mean anything unless there is a consequence associated with his lack of cooperation, and lots of praise for when he does respond to your directions.
stacyann21's Avatar stacyann21 06:16 PM 02-14-2009
He already understands he just doesn't like what you're asking
The4OfUs's Avatar The4OfUs 06:37 PM 02-14-2009
Understanding what "No" means, and being able to stop themselves from doing whatever it is are two entirely different things. I'm sure he does understand what No means when you say it, but he is simply, and developmentally appropriately, unable to stop himself from doing it anyway. As alegna wrote above, self-control and impulse control doesn't begin to get even remotely reliable until into the 3rd year. Before then, you can "train" your child to stop doing something to avoid an unpleasant consequence by using punishments like time outs or the 1, 2, 3 Magic or Love & Logic techniques, or you could just wait it out, redirect them, give alternatives, and accept that it's developmentally appropriate and keep directing towards the appropriate actions. Sure aversion therapy works (which is what punishments essentially are), but at what cost and to what end?

My children eventually learned (and/or are learning, since the second born is only 2-1/2) to control their impulses because they matured like most kids do - they're not perfect, but who is? Even I can't resist my impulses 100% of the time, KWIM...I redirect, I remove them or the item in question, I give an alternative, and am consistent with it. And my children are not the easy, laid back compliant type kids, they test and challenge like most kids do. I'd advise telling them what you WANT them to do instead of what NOT to do, because that leaves the door wide open for them to figure out something else. So "don't climb on the table" becomes "feet on the floor!" and "don't touch the dog's water" becomes, "have this water over here instead". KWIM? And repeat, repeat, repeat. Learning to control impulses is like learning anything else; we don't expect them to read and write after we read them the ABCs once, so why expect them to learn "No" so quickly?

It depends on what your goal is; for them to obey you, or for them to understand what's going on and "get it" on their own. I don't think 1, 2, 3 Magic and L&L are horrible, but I just don't see why punitive measures need to be implemented for toddlers during phases that are developmentally appropriate and usually outgrown one way or another...I've found by working with them through a phase instead of against them to extinguish a phase, the phase is over more quickly and with less stress for everyone.
Code Name Mama's Avatar Code Name Mama 02:17 AM 02-15-2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jessica1501 View Post
My baby is 13 months. I think she really understands the word "NO" because she stops what she's doing for a while and look at me when I say No. BUT she doesn't want to listen to me and still continues doing that with caution (doing that slowly while looking at me).
I read somewhere that you can use "time-out" method to teach kids to stop what they are not allowed to do.
I cannot imagine time outs being useful for a 13 month old. Maybe this article would help you think of some alternatives Jessica1501? (be sure to click past the newsletter ad - just find where it says "no thanks, just take me to the article").
Jessica1501's Avatar Jessica1501 05:28 AM 02-16-2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by MahnaMahna View Post
I cannot imagine time outs being useful for a 13 month old. Maybe this article would help you think of some alternatives Jessica1501? (be sure to click past the newsletter ad - just find where it says "no thanks, just take me to the article").
No I haven't used "time-out" for my baby. As I said, "I heard somewhere" about that.
smibbo's Avatar smibbo 12:38 PM 02-16-2009
Do you just say "no" and then wait for him to respond? You'll probably be waiting a long time. He ignores you because he's learned there's no reason to listen. If you're just saying "no" then you want him to stop having fun. If you're JUST saying "no" then ignoring you means he gets to keep having fun. Gotta give an alternative. A reason to stop.
August09baby's Avatar August09baby 05:21 PM 02-17-2009
Thanks The4OfUs - some great suggestions that have already started working! Much appreciated
cjuniverse's Avatar cjuniverse 06:14 PM 02-17-2009
I don't know, mami, but mine's almost 3...and when I tell him no, he just smiles.

Shrug. It's the age. They'll grow up and out of it like everything else. Hang in there!
PassionateWriter's Avatar PassionateWriter 08:37 PM 03-04-2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by The4OfUs View Post
Understanding what "No" means, and being able to stop themselves from doing whatever it is are two entirely different things. I'm sure he does understand what No means when you say it, but he is simply, and developmentally appropriately, unable to stop himself from doing it anyway. As alegna wrote above, self-control and impulse control doesn't begin to get even remotely reliable until into the 3rd year. Before then, you can "train" your child to stop doing something to avoid an unpleasant consequence by using punishments like time outs or the 1, 2, 3 Magic or Love & Logic techniques, or you could just wait it out, redirect them, give alternatives, and accept that it's developmentally appropriate and keep directing towards the appropriate actions. Sure aversion therapy works (which is what punishments essentially are), but at what cost and to what end?

My children eventually learned (and/or are learning, since the second born is only 2-1/2) to control their impulses because they matured like most kids do - they're not perfect, but who is? Even I can't resist my impulses 100% of the time, KWIM...I redirect, I remove them or the item in question, I give an alternative, and am consistent with it. And my children are not the easy, laid back compliant type kids, they test and challenge like most kids do. I'd advise telling them what you WANT them to do instead of what NOT to do, because that leaves the door wide open for them to figure out something else. So "don't climb on the table" becomes "feet on the floor!" and "don't touch the dog's water" becomes, "have this water over here instead". KWIM? And repeat, repeat, repeat. Learning to control impulses is like learning anything else; we don't expect them to read and write after we read them the ABCs once, so why expect them to learn "No" so quickly?

It depends on what your goal is; for them to obey you, or for them to understand what's going on and "get it" on their own. I don't think 1, 2, 3 Magic and L&L are horrible, but I just don't see why punitive measures need to be implemented for toddlers during phases that are developmentally appropriate and usually outgrown one way or another...I've found by working with them through a phase instead of against them to extinguish a phase, the phase is over more quickly and with less stress for everyone.
excellent post! i was going to respond but after reading what you wrote, i had very little to add!
Ms. B. Sprout's Avatar Ms. B. Sprout 11:06 AM 03-05-2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by The4OfUs View Post
It depends on what your goal is; for them to obey you, or for them to understand what's going on and "get it" on their own. I don't think 1, 2, 3 Magic and L&L are horrible, but I just don't see why punitive measures need to be implemented for toddlers during phases that are developmentally appropriate and usually outgrown one way or another...I've found by working with them through a phase instead of against them to extinguish a phase, the phase is over more quickly and with less stress for everyone.
Thanks for this post, The4ofUs! I needed to read all of that, because I am re-entering young toddler land with my DD.
The4OfUs's Avatar The4OfUs 12:05 PM 03-05-2009
Aw shucks ladies, I'm feeling the love! : Glad to be helpful.
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