agal12's picture

Miss Independent

My 2 year old daughter has a mind,and attitude of a teenager. She consistently tells me no when asked to do most anything. Time outs work for the problem behavior at the time, but later that day or the next day she reverts back. I have allowed her to do a lot by herself by her request but when I can't she gets extremely agitated. My son who is 5 did not have these same issues which I think compunds my frustration. he was such an easy kid and she is the exact opposite. How can I make her understand that she must listen in order to earn her independence?

acitez's picture

I have had some independent kids, too. What I work on is the rudeness. Play "princess" with her and teach her how to be polite, because princesses are polite! (This is make believe, but I think princesses mostly are polite.) So, Please and Thank you and Ma'am and Sir and if you must say no, say it kindly. Then you be polite even when the crowns, robes and scepters are put away.

SnglDad's picture

You say that she consistently says no when asked to do something; maybe the problem is that you are asking. If you think she is being a teenager now, wait until she actually becomes one. If you ask a question you should always expect to get the answer that you do not want. If you want your child to do something you tell them to do it. You say it in a way that leaves no room for misinterpretation. Also, just before you tell her what you want her to do you have to be in the right mindset. Know in your mind that what you are instructing her to do is not up for debate and the only answer you expect from her is a “yes”. This does not mean you will get a yes every time, and when that happens, use the time out. If she reverts back to her previous behavior the next day, use the time out. Use the time out every time she disobeys your instruction, consistency is the key.
If you step back and look at the situation you will see that your daughter is consistent in her actions. Her consistency in disobeying your instructions has left you frustrated, and that’s where she wants you to be. Use her own tactic against her.

2xstepmom's picture

More good advice from SnglDad and acitez. Use these techniques now and you will not have an out of control teen such as the ones who are so often described on these boards.

concerned mom's picture
concerned mom

I think wanting to be independent is a good thing. I was very much the same way as a child. I drove my parents nuts half the time, but that's how I learned. My youngest son is very much the same way. So I guess I'm getting a taste of my own medicine. Ha! I think you shld continue to let your daughter do things independently, but also encourage her to ask for help when she needs it. As long as she's not hurting herself or anyone else, what's the harm in it. If you engage in too many battles, you're both going to feel frustrated. There are times, of course, when your daughter is just going to have to accept no whether she likes it or not. She can kick and scream all she wants, but don't give in to her. A brief explanation like, "No, honey, you can't touch the oven. It's hot.", or "Mommy's going to put your coat on today b/c we need to leave now." shld be enough. Don't engage in any argument or further explanation, and don't try negotiating. Pick your child up, tantrum and all, and leave the house if you must. If you don't have to leave, let your child throw the tantrum. Don't interfere. If you try to intervene, you're giving your child the attention she's looking for. Only intervene if you feel your child cld hurt herself. Otherwise, she will eventually calm down on her own, and she'll realize that this behavior is not going to get her what she wants. Stand your ground. Be firm, and don't give in! Good luck!

unknown's picture


I perfectly understand what you mean and fits right into the category of the terrible twos! They would want to dress eat or close the straps of the carseat all by themselves and if you do it for them woo to you, the music that follows can become quite hard on the eardrums. Most of the time I need to gather all my patiences left and let them do it by themselves and when they finally admit they can't they give up and let you do it. But when I'm in a hurry that's when it really gets on my nerves. I simply do it and than pick them up and sooth them explaining the situation and next time I will let them do it by themselves. If a tantrum arises when they don't want to eat wear or do what. You suggested, give them several options to choose from and most of the time they will take what you suggested in the first place.