The “No” Toddler Phase


So I expected this would come at some point, or somewhat escalate to it’s current state, but I thought we might have a bit of time. I guess there is no time like the present! We’ve officially entered a point where Palmer is answering “no” to everything. Tantrums are at an all time high and I’m thisclose to ripping out all my hair. Thank goodness this pregnancy has me covered and is making it fall out anyway lol

I don’t know if it’s necessarily a regression or more of an expression of emotion (aka – I’m going to be 2 going on 20). It certainly doesn’t help that this new vocal negativity is coming around the same time as her recent first ear infection or whatever so I’m not sure if it’s permanent attitude adjustment or just an unfortunate side effect to the sickness.


The other day she was soooo upset and we were going to give her a bath (this was when she was sick). She LOVES baths so we thought a little splash in the bubbles would perk her right up. Instead, she stood in the hallway crying and crying. This was her conversation with Erin:

Erin: Peanut, do you want to take a bath??
Palmer: NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOErin: Do you want to eat some more dinner? (she was carrying her dinner plate)
Erin: Do you want some milk?
Erin: Do you want to go to Disneyland and meet Mickey Mouse?
Palmer: *brief silence as she thought* yes.

These kind of conversations have become very common lately. I know it’s a healthy part of growing up and developing but man, it’s exhausting!ย A study by Child Development revealed that two and three year olds argue with parents as often as 20 to 25 times an hour! Been there, done that.


I’m googling like crazy trying to find out techniques on how to handle this situation so that I remain sane. PS – what did our parents and grandparents do without google? For real. I usually try the distraction method (it has a 30% chance of working) or during extreme tantrums, putting her in her crib or a place she enjoys until she calms down/falls asleep. Being tired is usually part of the problem when it becomes an over the top screaming sesh. Truthfully, neither of my current methods were listed as ways to handle it so maybe I think it further supports the fact that I have no clue what I’m doing. ๐Ÿ™‚

Here are some things I might try:

  • Offering options: I read that offering two options helps so maybe next time she’s freaking out about putting on a shirt, I can offer her two selections and say, “Would you like to wear the pink shirt or the yellow shirt”, to allow her to assert some independence while I’m still maintaining control.
  • Change MY vocabulary: I could completely understand that she’s using the word no because she hears the word no from both me and Erin. We’ve been working on this lately but it’s a tough thing to break. Instead of saying no, I could replace it with more situation-specific phrases. For example, she goes into my hair product drawer about 500x a day, pulls out all the products, and distributes them all throughout the house. Instead of immediately saying no as she approaches the drawer, I could say, “We don’t play with Mommy’s hair products. Let’s go to your room and play with your toys”.
  • Turn it into a game: Next time I’m trying to encourage Palmer to do something, make it fun. Sounds way more simple than it probably will be but it’s worth a shot! Erin actually started doing this when he brushes her teeth and now she’s actually enjoying brushing her teeth. He makes a silly noise and she makes a silly noise and she actually allows him to use the finger toothbrush to get in there. She used to bite him really bad before but it’s starting to help!

I know this is probably the tip of the iceberg. I did read that “nooooooo” usually turns into “I don’t know” or they will begin to explain a little more as they build up their vocabulary so we’ll see. I just have to keep in mind, Stay Calm and Remain Consistent!


3 thoughts on “The “No” Toddler Phase

  1. heids84 says:

    Oh my gosh! I have been going through the same thing for a couple of months now! (Amelia is 18 months old). We are also going through a hitting/kicking phase, which has been super fun. Time out, talking and redirecting are all of the things we’ve been trying. Hoping this phase is over with soon. Sigh…

    On Fri, Jul 1, 2016 at 1:08 PM, i am justaudrey | blog wrote:

    > justaudrey posted: ” So I expected this would come at some point, or > somewhat escalate to it’s current state, but I thought we might have a bit > of time. I guess there is no time like the present! We’ve officially > entered a point where Palmer is answering “no” to everything.” >

  2. gibbo1983 says:

    My sons 20 months and the tantrums have defiantly kicked up a notch. He’s a nightmare sometimes I only have to look at him the wrong way for him to have a meltdown. He is also in a hitting mummy phase. It drives me nuts. Nice to know I’m not alone ๐Ÿ™‚

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