Who's the Boss -- You or Your Toddler?

Tantrum Tamers

Little brunette boy crying

Andrew Parsons

Real moms explain how they temper their toddlers' rebellious behavior.

We've tried to limit Lily's defiance by limiting our use of the word "No." Instead we say "Oh, I don't think so" in a disapproving tone.
Heather Pierce, San Francisco

My daughter, Sascha, used to throw a fit when I changed her. So I learned to distract her by singing "The Lady with the Alligator Purse" as I swapped out the dirty diaper for a fresh one. Now she stays calm.
Lisa Ammerman, Los Angeles

When Eli refuses to get into the car, my husband and I divert his attention by talking about how much fun we'll have at Grandma and Grandpa's house. By the time our son realizes what we're doing, he's already strapped in.
Heidi Suppelsa, St. Louis, Missouri

My son, Hudson, loves to says "No, no, no" all the time. Now when he does it, I say "Yes, yes, yes" playfully. He starts laughing, and that gets him into a cooperative mood.
Tammy Alvino, New York City

Oh "no"!

Life gets trickier when your child starts defying you. But look on the bright side: This stage, which usually kicks in around 15 months, is a positive development. "Toddlers have to separate themselves from their parents to become independent beings," says Mary Ann LoFrumento, MD, author of Understanding Your Toddler. "The only way they know how to do this is to rebel against you." Your child may become so negative that she even rejects things she wants, like a dish of ice cream or a chance to play at the park. The best advice: Respect her right to say no (within reason). "The idea is to decrease the number of things she has to say 'No' about," says Dr. LoFrumento.

Parents Are Talking

Add a Comment