March 2018 – Letter from the President

Dear Friends,

Since my son, Grant is turning two this month and I’m a cuckoo parent, I’ve already begun reviewing the “Ages & Stages” questionnaire that we need to complete as part of his two-year-old medical checkup. At the beginning of the questionnaire, the authors caution, “At this age, toddlers may not be cooperative when asked to do things.” Uncooperative toddlers!? Really, I had no idea.

I was initially concerned about Grant’s language development – at least relative to his older brother at the same age – but I am very happy to realize he is developmentally on target when it comes to his contrariness. The first word he ever uttered was “NO!” and unfortunately, “yes” is still missing from his vocabulary.

When I ask Grant to do something, he’ll often respond “no, no, no, no, no,” as he wags his finger at me like a tiny Dikembe Mutombo, the basketball player famous for blocking shots and then taunting opponents. I wondered if other two-year-olds were as disagreeable as Grant until I found a study conducted by psychologists from Lehigh University and UC Davis who discovered that toddlers and their mothers had an average of 20 disagreements per hour. Multiple that by my two boys and an argument every 1.5 minutes sounds just about right in our home.

While Grant mainly says no because he doesn’t want to do something, he sometimes says it just to get a reaction. For example, when I ask him, “can you say anything other than no?” he predictably responds, “NO!” My colleagues at CMEE were delighted to learn that Grant had entered his “no” phase because it meant he was learning to push boundaries, assert his independence and express a sense of control. Compared to other words I’m sure I’ll hear my sons say in the future, I guess “no” isn’t so bad.

Do you have any tips for encouraging your defiant toddler (or teen) to say “yes”? Feel free to send me a message directly or share it on our Facebook page.

Sincerely,

Steve

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