Doesn't like to Be Told "No"

Updated on January 12, 2010
H.S. asks from Royal Oak, MI
18 answers

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?

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answers from Kalamazoo on

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!




answers from Detroit on

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 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

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answers from Indianapolis on

Our daughter (21 months) is also really sensitive to the word, "NO". She doesn't like to be scolded, but she isn't quite like your son in terms of wanting an alternative.

I don't think it's wrong to offer an alternative depending on what it is. In the situation of the juice vs. water, you're simply creating a habit that will be hard to break as he'll get dependent on having something.

Wish I had better advice for you.
How old is he? Our 3.5 year old is beginning to learn that he has his favorite things taken away (toys, books, tv shows) if he doesn't behave. It's beginning to sink in.



answers from Detroit on

I think offering alternatives that you're comfortable with, right after he asks, is fine. Just because he's upset doesn't mean you have done something wrong. If he continues to cry, following you around I'd have him sit in a room by himself until he's calm, then he can rejoin the rest of the household. I wouldn't want to set a pattern that crying gets you what you want eventually. No one likes to be told no. Some crying is normal. Manipulation isn't okay, so just don't accept it. HTH



answers from Detroit on

Hmmm.... How often does this happen? Are these fits literally going for hours, or does it just feel that way as he is so upset and it upsets you? Are you overly doting on him - I know I can do this sometimes and trust me... I pay for it when I do. ;)

If these fits are happening often, then you may need to evaluate some things to rebalanced the situation.

It sort of sounds like you are letting your son control you by having you come up with an alternative so often, don't you think? You want to consider this... what happens if the next thing he really wants is not safe for him and there may not be an alternative solution? (I know - I tend to over-think things... but it can happen at this age.)

When my son has a melt-down, I first ignore it. When it continues for a few minutes, he then is sent to his room to have a time out and then after a few minutes I (or hubby) goes in to chat with him to see what is going on).

Maybe instead of giving in (with another solution), what about directing to another activity? I realize at bedtime, you cannot do this... however, when I explain things to my son (as simply as you can to the age level - my son is now five, but we talked openly & honestly to him from the start), he really seemed to settle down with it. Doesn't mean he liked it.
With the juice vs. water at bed - do you normally give him something at bed like milk or is it water? My son had his milk, so that is why I ask...).

I say reset your routine and regain the balance... but don't give in too often to him or he will be expecting it every time and you may not be able to do so every time.

good luck!



answers from Detroit on

Me again.

Discipline, H.. Screaming is not acceptible. For one it's impossible to understand the English language during screams.
Implement the naughty chair. If he doesn't do as you ask, give a warning. If that doesn't work, naughty chair for his age in minutes. and it's going to take several returns to the chair until he stays there.
Then you explain why he's there. Explain again after time is up, get an apology, then a hug. You need to watch Supernanny on Fridays. Great methods, advice, guidance. Fail to get some order, and you will regret it seriously when your son is older. he will be a nightmare teen if you do not give him boundaries and discipline. You will not be given respect. And as much as you ached to bring him into this world, you will be miserable. So now is the time to put good methods into practice. You'll grow, he'll grow.

Good luck girl!



answers from Detroit on

Sounds like a lot of toddlers I know! Your job is not to make him always do what you want, but to gradually teach him independence, which takes a lot of comforting and compromise. The water alternative at bedtime sounds perfect. Gently, and over a long time, you'll teach him what he needs to know. It's a very slow process with many steps back. His emotional well-being is so critical that he may need a lot of reassurance even though firm limits are important as time goes by. He's still very little!


answers from Grand Rapids on

No one likes being told no. But, alas, sometimes it's what we've got to hear. lol However, I think water as an alternative is not even a "bad" habit at night. You may have more trouble potty training at night, but they outgrow all stages anyway.
I'm a parent of an only boy, whom we tried for 5 years to get. And he will probably be the only child too. What has really helped me in saying "No," is actually to say, "That is not okay." And follow it up with what he CAN do. Explaining reasons for and not for are fine. However, ultimately, my son has to accept the bottom line. So, we do use his room as a place for him to get himself under control. It helps get the idea across that we are not going to punish the parent for what he is going through. He get's over it quite quickly. And then that issue is not such a hot button for him. I wish you all the luck in the world. (Hugs)



answers from Detroit on

It is hard to hear your son be upset, I know! When my boys were little I tried to think long term. Would everyone in the world give my boys what they wanted? No. So, the long term goal is to teach them coping skills for when they don't get what they want.

It sounds like he has learned that if he holds out long enough he will get something. And sometimes there can't be an alternative - so he needs to learn those coping skills too. I think I would try to stick to your original no. When he gets a bit older you'll be able to add additional consequences to the fits to try to shorten them. Losing a toy or privilege.

Good Luck!!!!! I remember those days!



answers from Saginaw on

Do you like being told 'no'? I know I don't.

Do you tend to let it go, quickly and easily, when someone you ask for something walks away from you when you're upset by the 'no'? Me either.

Generally, for 2yos, it's simpler to be the grown-up in the room and evade all the stuff that's going to be upsetting:

~ if chocolate is an issue, don't have it in the house (get your compadre do an 11pm run on the 7-11 if you need chocolate you can't have him eating, or stop trying to limit his access anymore than you limit yours.)

~ if tv is an issue, keep it off for most of the day, even if you have 12 shows you 'kinda' like

~ if touching things is an issue, make sure that very nearly everything he can reach is something he's allowed to touch

Set up a child's world for success: If he can't touch it, move it where he can't see it or reach it. If you don't want him watching it, turn it off. If you don't want him to drink juice before bed, make sure there is none 'around' to have.

He will still become overwhelmed by the lack of power in his world, by the random and chaotic things that happen to him that he doesn't want happening, and at the fact that he can't make what he wants to happen by wanting it, but at least within his home and within his family most of the time what he can see he can have without a struggle.



answers from Detroit on

Try "being with him in the moment". When he has a meltdown, stay with him, try to be empathetic. He may be crying because you are walking away from him. Try to reassure him that it is okay, but be firm. Don't give in on his demands, or he will think that if he just cries long enough, you will cave in. There is a reason that they call it the terrible twos, and just remember that this too shall pass. Best of luck, and above all, remain patient.



answers from Detroit on

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!



answers from Detroit on

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.



answers from Detroit on

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!



answers from Detroit on

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!!



answers from Detroit on

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



answers from Detroit on

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!




answers from Grand Rapids on

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.

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