Recently our 2.5 daughter started being really annoying about doing simple daily things, like brushing her teeth, dressing, undressing, putting on shoes to go out, etc. Often we need to negotiate up to 20 mins to get her to put her shoes to go out, even though we are going to a place she really wants to go and will enjoy (e.g. playground). She would say NO, lie on the floor, cry when we actually try to put the shoes on and take them off if we are successful, etc. Its just unbearable anymore.

We have tried the obvious things, like letting her choose between two options, but she would always pick a third option (which is usually inappropriate) or just says she will NOT do it and cries. Its much worse when we are at home rather than anywhere else, but still it does happen.

asked 22 Oct '11, 04:52

Gandrusz's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%

edited 30 Oct '11, 00:38

mkcoehoorn's gravatar image



I feel for you. We are going through the same thing with our 2.5 son, if it helps.

(28 Oct '11, 12:44) Anne

Never negotiate with terrorists or toddlers. (But with toddlers also try to keep in mind that the blue cup is not the same as the red cup and sometimes that is totally worth crying over.)

(03 Nov '11, 00:59) Neen

You are at a point where your child feels like she is ready for independence, and in some ways she might be. But you are still the one in charge and she needs to learn to respect your authority more than just about anything right now. In your shoes, I would stop trying to negotiate with her. Instead I would make it clear that she does what I say, or she gets punished. The punishment can take any form, and can vary from situation to situation. If she refuses to put on her shoes, then there is no outing. If she doesn't brush her teeth, you grab her toothbrush and do it for her. So long as there is a clear, strong response from you if she does not obey. If she pulls the "sit and cry" routine, in addition to whatever punishment was promised, I would send her straight to her room. If you are in public when she tries this, stop what you are doing, pick her up and take her somewhere private until she settles down - this may mean it is the end of your outing.

At this point you are laying the foundation for discipline and respect as she gets older. If she learns now that whining, crying and arguing can get her out of something she doesn't want to do, she will continue to do that as she gets older.


answered 30 Oct '11, 00:36

mkcoehoorn's gravatar image

accept rate: 8%

edited 30 Oct '11, 00:44


+1 - That fits with our experience. For instance, if I ask our 3 yo to go and get dressed and she refuses, I can say, "I'm going to count to 3 and if you're not going to get dressed, I'm going to pick you up and take you there and dress you myself." I'd rarely get to 2 before she goes. She learns that disobeying is pointless. You can also add another negative consequence like taking away a favourite toy, etc., if taking away her independence (our daughter likes to do everything herself) isn't enough of a deterrent. Works like a charm. (Obviously you always have to carry out any threat.)

(30 Oct '11, 10:51) Scott ♦♦

I agree with this but in situations where he refuses to let me do things -- like change his clothes or brush his teeth -- and I have to do them myself, it's just so physically demanding to wrestle him into submission. So I do try to negotiate, at least at first. Also I think, strangely, he enjoys the wrestling.

(02 Nov '11, 13:12) Anne
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Asked: 22 Oct '11, 04:52

Seen: 4,124 times

Last updated: 04 Mar '12, 12:07