"No!" "Gimme!" "I don't want that!" Sound familiar? Sometime around her first birthday, your child's adorable "Mamas" and "Dadas" give way to words that aren't so cute -- and a whole lot of meltdowns to match. Her sudden divalike demands may leave you wondering what happened to your pleasant child. "At this age, kids start to understand cause and effect, and they realize that certain words and actions get a bigger reaction," says Rahil D. Briggs, PsyD, a psychologist at The Children's Hospital at Montefiore, in New York City. "As they discover this power, they'll delight in asserting their newfound authority and in testing your limits."
But this defiance isn't just about pushing your buttons. Your toddler is also developing her own preferences in everything from clothes to daily activities. Unfortunately, she lacks the language skills to communicate what she likes and dislikes, and this can be even more frustrating for her than it is for you. Make things easier for both of you by knowing how to handle these common diva behaviors.