“I tried everything!” : The “no” of two year olds
Impossible to not talk about it in the period of small childhood evoked by Isabelle Filliozat in « J’ai tout essayé ! » (“I tried everything!”).
In English, they speak of the “terrible 2”, this age is often one of opposition. In reality, it explains quite simply: the child enters a phase of individualisation. (Which is why we sometimes call it small adolescence)
The 2-year-old child realises he is his own individual. That he exists separate from us. And he needs to prove it to himself. That’s why he starts opposing us. He isn’t content with what we tell him to do, he wants to take initiative, he wants to be. Thus, the best way to avoid a problem is to give him the opportunity to choose alone.
It’s easier that it would seem: it’s not about not imposing everything, since we are still in control of the planning.. But simply to give him opportunities for decision making in the frame we will have given him.
To achieve this, two techniques of which we have already spoken are particularly efficient:
1- Description: “Oh, your teddybear is on the floor!”, so the child will give himself the instruction to put it back in the bed. (seen in How to talk so kids will listen and listen so kids will talk in chapter 3 on punishment, then in Siblings without rivalries)
2- Choice!! In every way, once again. So we can sometimes replace “Come to the bathroom!” (we are in the middle of potty training) by “Do you want to go on the toilet or on the potty?”. It’s incredible how well it works…
and Isabelle Filliozat adds to this idea with:
3- Giving an Information: “We put shoes away here.” (technique also seen in the same chapter, of How to talk so kids…)
4- Installing routines, and connections:
In our house for example, it’s: bath, pyjama, cleaning up the living room, and dinner time!
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