How to Decode Your Kid's Body Language

Your once-clingy 1-year-old pushes or runs away from you.

What you think it means: Get away from me!

What it probably means: I can do it by myself!

What may seem like a diss is actually good news: "Your kid is starting to trust herself and the world around her," explains Rahil Briggs, Psy.D, a psychologist at Montefiore Children's Hospital, in New York City.

Your Next Move Try not to take it personally -- your can-do child still needs you. If she wants to examine a tree in the park, let her touch the bark or smell the leaves. Avoid stepping in unless she's doing something dangerous, such as picking up a sharp branch. Think of yourself as a gas station and your child as a car, suggests Dr. Briggs. "When she needs reassurance, she'll zoom into the safety of your arms for emotional refueling," he says.

Originally published in the August 2010 issue of Parents magazine.

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