Between 18 months and 3 years of age, almost all children go through a phase characterized by a grumpy and oppositional attitude towards their parents and more generally the adult reference figures, which is especially expressed by increasing the “no” to each inquiry addressed to them. . This is the familiar phase of No. Here is how to best handle it with the advice of Dr. Luigina Catanzaro, psychologist and psychotherapist at San Paolo Hospital in Milan and overcomes the no-phase in children unharmed.
When do babies start saying no?
It is a very important growth phase, known precisely as “no phase in children”, where the little one, through the rejection of the rules imposed by “the adults” and the intensification of whims or anger reactions, he makes a key passage on the road that will lead him to recognize himself as an individual with his own will and a personality different from that of mother and father.
Knowing that this transboundary charge is characteristic of this age group and destined to diminish with advances in psychophysical maturation helps to more easily meet a period that often tends to be very demanding, especially for the mother.
The privileged recipient of the most stubborn “no” and the most exhausting challenges typical of this age is the mother: In fact, it is above all from her – as the most important “attachment figure” – that the child must “put distance” to begin to recognize himself even as a separate and independent entity. This is why at this age it is often easier to deal with the little one for fathers who should take advantage of this advantage in favor of the partner and help her avoid irritating the tension that tends to be created in the light of the frequent provocations from child and suggest ways of output that may represent a compromise between the positions of the two “challengers”.
This mediating role allows the father to play more easily, also thanks to the fact that he tends to spend much less time with the child, allowing him to be more patient and understanding.
How to deal with a child who always says no?
Even if you are aware of the reasons for this attitude in the child, it is not always easy to manage not to lose patience and maintain control, especially in light of particularly intense scenes and tantrums. To reduce the frequency of collisions, it is advisable to:
- reduce the rules, but expect them to be respected: if there are too many prohibitions, it will be more difficult to deal with them and the child’s cross-border attitude may risk being annoyed or, on the contrary, excessively frustrated;
- not to be exposed to the “blackmail” of the scene: “giving it up” to the child in order to avoid being embarrassed by its excessive reaction in public is a very common mistake, which must be avoided: it is in fact a very anti-pedagogical and disorienting behavior of the child who, within the limits imposed by adults, unconsciously seeks (and should find) a reassuring containment of his own impulses. If you really can not stand the discomfort of a public stage, it is more appropriate to find a compromise that avoids overheating the tones of the confrontation. Here’s an example: when it’s time to get out of the swing and the child refuses to do so by threatening screams and screams, it is advisable to allow him, first to declare it, one last sequence of shocks before he gets him to give up his place. But at this point, if the little one continues to repeat his “no,” he must be physically removed from the swing even in spite of his intense reaction.
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