Q. My 18-month-old has started having tantrums whenever I say no to him. The other day at the store, I didn't let him push the stroller -- he couldn't see where he was going and would've run into people. He screamed his head off. What can I do?
A. Congratulations, you've entered the toddler years! This means your 18-month-old is pretty much immune to distraction techniques. He knows what he wants and has the know-how and physical skills to work toward the goals he sets for himself. But he is not yet a logical or rational being -- so forget any strategies that include reasoning with him.
First, pat yourself on the back for doing such a great parenting job. You have clearly nurtured your son's self-confidence and eagerness to learn, two ingredients vital for his healthy development. But curious, confident kids can also be a handful because they want to do everything by themselves. The good news is that there is a lot you can do to encourage your son's growing independence while keeping him safe and keeping yourself sane:
Rebecca Parlakian, also of Zero to Three, contributed to this column.
Copyright © 2008. Used with permission from the May 2008 issue of American Baby magazine.