Toddler shouting "no" at everything - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 6 Old 12-04-2002, 02:56 AM - Thread Starter
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Hi my 19 month old son is shouting quite loudly "no" to everyone and everything. Examples; if the dogs even look at him, night nursing when I say, "num num night night, roll off", a friend is playing with a toy he wants, asking him to get in the car seat etc.

Hearing him shout so loudly the word "no" is hard to hear. I rarely ever say no to him, I use stop please, and I am being so careful now. I try to tell him gentle voice, please don't shout I'm right here. I also am trying to tell him "walk away" from any situation he doesn't feel comfortable in.
I don't know what else to say to him. Can you all please share some ideas with me? I would love to hear other creative ways or words to use. :
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#2 of 6 Old 12-04-2002, 11:59 AM
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Unfortunately, no matter how diligent you are at not saying "no" to your child, they will say it eventually to everything, just part of toddlerhood I'm afraid.

The reason that you should not use the word "no" frequently is because they will start to ignore the word. It has much more impact when used only on special occasions (like touching the stove). It's kind of the way a spanker will use spanking - only on an occasion where they want to make a tremendous impact. However, just because you don't use it does not mean you child won't.

The word "no" is actually a psychological milestone for kids: in other words, as frustrating as it is, it is very important that they do it. It is the beginning of their ability to separate from mom.

So, enough of the psycho-babble. What can you do about it? Not terribly much. It is a phase and it will pass (when they are about 23! ). Most of the time they don't even mean "no" when they say it, they just want to say it. If I'm in a scenario where Maddy is saying "no" (example: Maddy, do you want to have dinner? "NO!"), I'll say "okay, do you want to wait three minutes and then have dinner?" "NO", "okay, why don't you tell me when you are ready for dinner?" "I want dinner!". The child is basically telling you that they want to let you know when they are ready to do something. Give them that power and eventually they will start to taper off with the "nos".

Good luck! It's a looooooong phase but you will get used to it!

Maddy Moo - 2.5
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#3 of 6 Old 12-04-2002, 01:31 PM
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Just wanted to say that actually it was a pretty short (~2 week) phase with my dd -- dunno if that was sheer luck or how we handled it. We basically didn't make an issue of it (much easier for me since I'm deaf, probably!! ) and recognized that it was something she was going through. When she'd say "no", I'd say "OK", and go on to something else. If it was something not negotiable, like leaving the playground, we'd gradually say "goodbye" to everything, then "byebye playground!" and into the car. If she still said "no!!", I'd just mildly say "sorry, we need to go now. It's getting dark/ we have to ______/ whatever."

She pretty quickly realized that a) I recognized that she was communicating something, and respected that, but b) there were limits on what she could accomplish by saying "No!" and c) she wouldn't get whatever she said "no!" to, (offers of food, offers of activities) and she actually wanted some of those things, so saying no didn't help her.

It's not like she never says "No!" anymore (hardly!!), but it was a definite period where it was "No!" all the time, and that passed.

One last thing -- at some point we started a couple of "No!" games. One is "No/ yes!" where she says "no,", I say "yes,", then I sudddenly start saying "no", and she says "yes!" :P Just back and forth fast. Another is when she says "no!" to one question, and I suspect she's just being bloody-minded, I then ask a bunch of other silly questions. Like,

"Do you want a banana?"


"Do you want a fanana?"

"No!" (with a smile)

"Do you want a tarantula?"

"No!" (giggling)


By the time I get back to "banana", she'll often say "yes", IF she really wants one. If she doesn't, she doesn't.
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#4 of 6 Old 12-04-2002, 04:41 PM
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We use the same approach as LoveBeads and sozobe, we don't make a big deal out of the 'No'. Just don't take it personally, stay calm and be consistent. I don't know if it makes the no's go away any faster, DS is 20 months now and has been doing it off and on for about a month. Some days are 'no' days and some days are 'yes' days at our house. I relish the 'yes' days!
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#5 of 6 Old 12-05-2002, 05:48 AM
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My daughter, who is coming up on 3, is actually only just now getting to this stage. We thought we had been spared, guess not.

Anyhow, it is absolutely hillarious to us because she says "no" to EVERYTHING. Even if we ask her to do something, as she is doing it she says "NO." She is a very obedient kid by nature, and as long as she doesn't lose focus she does what we ask her to, so it is kind of funny - to us anyway - that she is going through a "no" stage despite that.

We do not use the word "no" in our house excessively. We have had comments from FIL about how great it is that we only use "no" in serious situations when it is really needed, and how our kids always listen when we say "no" (as opposed to other kids that visit his home). That may or may not have anything to do with Becca not having her "no" phase until so much later than most kids, but we don't know. She's never really been the type to tantrum, either, so it might just be a personality thing for her.

Still, even though we find it funny and even though she doesn't really use "no" all that defiantly, we aren't exactly proud of that particular behavior. If she is doing as we directed, we will ignore the "no." If she is not doing as we directed, or if she is saying no to something she would normally say yes to, we will ask again.

Another semi-side issue - we never ask her a question if we aren't prepared to live with her answer. For example, if we ask her "are you ready to pick up your toys now?" or "can you pick up your toys now?" and she says "no," we have to live with that and drop the issue for a while. If it was really important to us that the toys got picked up, we would say "it's time to pick up your toys now. Let's pick them up." We don't like to disrespect our daughter's opinions by asking her a question and then disregarding her answer, kwim?

Mama, homeschooler, midwife. DD (13yo), DS (11yo), DD (8yo), DD (3yo), somebody new coming in November 2013.

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#6 of 6 Old 12-05-2002, 11:04 AM
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I am also having a fun time as my boys get into the word no. They say no to everything, and I mean everything. Like at bed time, they say no to the books they love to read, then immediately hand them over and beg me to read them. ame with dinner or going outside to the park.
We also make a joke out of it with the same silly questions as sozobe. Sometimes I even ask "Do you love mama?" "no" "Are you a nice boy?" "No" which is really ridiculous and generates crazy laughter.
What amazes me is the capacity for deceit--though I wonder if it is really deceit. Josh will write on a wall. and if I ask him "who wrote that?" he will say "Seany wrote that" or "Nanny wrote that". . .!!!!
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