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Embracing No

My son is almost 3 years and 3 months old. As he is growing, so are his interests. And you have guessed it – disinterests. Lately, he has embraced NO as his favorite word. No to going to kindergarten, No to eating, No to going outside. No to sleeping. And when asked why we get all kinds of excuses. The most common one is “it’s not convenient”. A fancy word for “I don’t want to”. Mind blown.

And there is little we can do to change his mind. If we insist, crocodile tears are ready to come out. I hope it’s just a temporary phase as it’s stretching our nerves to the max. I understand his need to say no to some things. But it’s not that… it’s just his way of exercising his independence and getting attention.

Be wary about setting rules. Of course, he will not listen to them. But he might surprise you one day by reminding you about the rule you told him days ago. And he’s expecting “you” to respect the rule.
Talk about a backfire.

The same goes with buying toys appropriate for his age. I used to tell him that some of the toys are for older or younger kids. He soon understood that 3+ are OK for him and now is searching for them especially. So I can’t tell him that toys are for other kids anymore… Well, I can but it won’t work anymore.

Small tantrums. I can deal with those. But these are something else. Total meltdowns and rivers of tears. Even for small things. My brain can’t understand them, but my heart reminds me he’s just a small kid that probably doesn’t understand what’s going on either.

I feel like all my life I have been preparing for these moments. I’m a patient man (not to brag but it’s the truth) but he is tirelessly pushing the boundaries and has what seems to be never-ending energy and ambition. All I have is coffee and a keyboard. To put my thoughts in order. Before a new round starts.

What about you? How do you deal with tantrums, never-ending questions, and NOOOOOs?



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8 thoughts on “Embracing No

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  1. No absolutes in decisions. Offer two choices you can live with and allow him to choose. It becomes a “win-win”. He asserts his right to choose. He makes choices you can live with. Of course it means restructuring approach to bedtime, meals,clothing etc. Might take a couple weeks to get with the program. Offering choices related to going places often diffuses refusal to go at all. He, like each of us, controls fear of the challenges ahead by asserting control. Necessary to allow him to move forward but hard on one’s nerves. If adults, with all our knowledge and experience,fear what lies ahead for him, imagine how a three year old feels.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We give him choices all the time but then he mostly wants both of them. Or none of them. But I know what you mean. Thanks for sharing and reminding me to look for different approaches when things don’t work out.

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  2. LOL, I remember those days, from when my daughter and grandkids were small. We used lannarino2012’s suggestion of offering choices, and it’s a foundation for teaching choices and consequences. We’re still doing it with the 10-year-old because simply laying down the law results in rebellion. We’re preparing them to understand choices, boundaries, respect, and communication. Wynne on “Surprised by Joy” wynneleon.wordpress.com has many wonderful posts and great advice for raising young ones!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Wynne is a truly amazing person! I’m sure you’ll love her blog!

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  3. This is adorable, but I can only imagine how stressful it would be to see your kid throw a tantrum. I don’t have kids myself, but it’s interesting how at that age they’re developing their sense of self and there’s a lot of growing pains that occur. I heard a toddler throw a tantrum today when I was working at a hotel and it was jarring. I always feel bad for the parents when that happens.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, I used to feel the same about parents when that happens – me included. Going to the kindergarten with my kid I can see it happen a lot to different kids so I kinda got used to it. Now I see it more as a discharge of emotions and a natural thing.

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