18 answers

Doesn't like to Be Told "No"

To start, I love my son dearly. He is an only child and will probably always be. If he's told "no" to anything he has a melt down. I walk away and ignore him until he's done screaming. This can continue for hours unless I can come up with an alternative to whatever it is he wanted. Am I doing the wrong thing by giving him an alternative of whatever it is, for example, he wanted juice before bed and had a fit. I gave him water instead. Sometimes the alternative works sometimes not.

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

I would suggest that if you are going to give an alternative it should be right away - not after he has been throwing the fit for a while because then he will think the fit is what is getting the alternative and maybe he will get an even better alternative if he continues with the fit.
Best Wishes!


Hi H. - I think alternatives are the way to go - and also, try not to say NO too much. I think the most frustrated kids are the ones whose parents say no all the time. Just think - why is it such a problem to have a little juice before bed......you are going to clean his teeth I presume anyway. Some toddlers definitely have more tantrums than others but to limit them, try and see things from his perspective and give him more choices. Good luck - Alison

More Answers

I remember those days all to well. From experience, it will get better, in the sense that it won't happen as often. My four year old still has issues. Here's what her psychologist suggested to us:

1) Its okay to offer an alternative, as long as you explain why you are offering it. Such as - you can't have juice because you have brushed your teeth, and the sugar can hurt your teeth, but if you are thirsty you can have water. Otherwise it can look like you are bribing and it will continue until he gets something.

2) If you aren't going to offer an alternative, move him to a room where you can safely put him where he can't see or hear you and tell him he needs to stay there until he calms down. He's doing it for the attention, and to get his way, and once he realizes that it isn't going to work it is amazing how fast it stops (trust me on that one).

I'll finish by saying that my daughter was not being seen by a psychologist because of temper tantrums - rather for some other issues and we were told she may have ADHD. In the end, she is fine. There is no reason for you to seek medical intervention - I was just passing on what we got.

They are not called the "terrible twos" for nothing, right? :) This is just a phase that all kids go thru. Hang in there. It sounds like you are on track. In the school that I work at we are not suppose to flat out say "no" to behavior. However, I believe that we are making a serious mistake by not doing so. There is a whole generation of kids coming up who don't know the meaning of the word! (soap box, sorry) Stick to your guns and teach him what the word means!


H.; hahahah i had this situation with my third child, ahahah you as a parent need to tell him no in a positive way, my son did not like to go to church or our morning sunday meeting, he said can we go home and i said no, and he would throw a fit, finally i started to change my ways, to not have that fit, he would say can we go home and i would say yes, when its over, and he was completely happy, so if he says can i have candy, and you say no for a reason, then keep to your no, if you are gonna change it to a yes later then why not just start out with the yes, can i have some candy, yes when you are done eating lunch, or yes when you pick up your toys, if you say no and then change it to a yes, rethink yourself, make your yes mean yes and your no mean no, this consistancy will help, but think the child asks you a question, and you feel to say no, think before answering, if i say no will i change it to a yes after he throws a fit? if you will then just go straight to the yes, but in a time frame when appropriate, like no candy before a meal is about to start, but yes after or if time is right then it is, and sometimes we say no cause of our own laziness, so say yes, mommy will get it in a few minutes when im done here, make your no positive, not always changing to ayes, like for my son, he got the same results, we did not go home, but we did so afterwards when appropriate, he got a positive no, haahahhah so hang in there and try it, D. s

I would say no to your ? I think to say water instead of juice is fine. I wouldn't allow te tantrum though when e goes to do it because he doesnt like you haveing authority. I would find a place he doesn't like in the house could be a step a chair a bed. Make him go to that spot for time out. When ever e throws a fit. He gets to go to the spot till he stops and hes been there up to his age time in quietnes. If he carries on he doesn't coem out till hes quiet for like ay 2 mins if hes 2. Also when hes done with his tantrum explain to him he needs to stop acting that way and that will not get him what he wants. also let him know that its not exceptable also if its close to bed just say well you gonna throug a fit its bed time now instead of in 10 mins lets go. Good Luck!!

I have never met a 2 year old who likes to hear the word "no"...2 year olds are famous for using it as their favorite word. From your previous question it sounds like your bedtime routine has run amuck. Like I said before....he is still a baby. What's the harm in giving him juice, milk or water before bed as long as he brushes his teeth after? You could keep things positive and teach him some dicision making skills by giving him 2 choices that are both acceptable to you and let him have what he chooses. Love on him...he will be running out the door before you know it!

I would suggest that if you are going to give an alternative it should be right away - not after he has been throwing the fit for a while because then he will think the fit is what is getting the alternative and maybe he will get an even better alternative if he continues with the fit.
Best Wishes!


I don't think it's bad to offer an alternative. But like the other moms said, make sure that it is not being used as a bribe.

When I do this with my son it works every time in my favor. Let's say that he wants a cookie for a snack, and I say no, you may have an apple if you'd like. If he starts to act out about it, I'll say to him "Well, you can have an apple or nothing...your choice." This makes him feel like he has a little control over the situation. He's making the choice that I've laid out for him. 9 out of 10 times, he'll take the apple. Sometimes he'll go with nothing...but it will have been his choice.

Stick to your guns and follow through with what ever you decide to do.

Hope this helps.

Hi H.
It isn't easy, is it? I think that as far as offering an alternative it depends on how it is being done. If you are fine with him having water before bed, then it is not a problem. I assume the point was you probably either felt he had had enough for the day or he had already brushed his teeth, or something like that. I give my son choices like that all the time.
At that age too it is absolutely appropriate to "distract" the child from something that is not appropriate. Just make sure it doesn't start to turn in to bribing (If you stop screaming about not getting the toy at the store I will buy you icecream , type of thing).
The tantrums WILL subside as he realizes you stick firm as well, even though there may be times it seems like they never will. Good luck!

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