The negativism of the 2 years: no, no and no!

Like a repeating monkey, before almost learning to speak, our little imam of a year and a half already dominates to perfection the exasperating and challenging word "NO". Maybe because we also like to resort to him often, it is especially exasperating for our son to use it as a weapon against any proposal ... What can we answer him?

About a year and a half or two years, children often take pleasure in shaking their heads to answer with a resounding "no" to many of the things we ask or propose. This negativism, which does not matter, is only the reflection of a stage of confusion.

In a world full of options and new things that constantly threaten his safety, the child reacts by saying "no" to what he likes. The only thing he has clear is that he does not want to be separated from the environment that is familiar to him.


This attitude, which is why it often contradicts even itself, has a more evolutionary than emotional sense. It is the reflection of the transition from a presocial state to a socialized one.

Take noes! This expresses the negativism of the 2 years

However, we must not go too far to seek simple explanations. If the first thing the child learns to say is "no" ... will not it be because it is what he hears the most? His growing motor autonomy makes the child become a real danger since he starts walking, and this forces us to be constantly cutting his initiatives ... why is not he going to do the same with ours?

Another reason we must consider is the picaresque of our little angel. There is no doubt that he often does not know what he is saying ... but many times he is just trying to measure how far our patience and resistance go before the threat of a tantrum or tantrum.
If our child is in this stage, however, there is no reason to magnify what is only a temporary problem. But we must avoid reactions that can aggravate it.


Fight to win?

Although the attitude of our son is really challenging, we must not forget that any of our reactions will have its particular significance in the world that he is now discovering.

Calibrate if we really want to fight the battle. If we accept and enter to discuss, we can not run the risk that the child manages to impose his will on the father. Giving in on a question of authority is a first step in forging a rebellious and tyrannical teenager. It will be better for us to have a scale of unappealable orders and more flexible ones, in order not to use too much the way of imposition.

We should not abuse direct confrontations like: "you go to bed because I say it and you have to obey", and limit them to those cases in which we are willing to succeed.

The clear things before the negativism of the 2 years

Another issue in which we must put effort to not let ourselves be carried away by strong temptations: to be sincere with the child and to always make clear what are the things that do not admit discussion at home.


When we want to do something "unappealable" like going to bed, we can not give you the option to obey with questions like "Do you want to go to bed?" or "I'll take you to bed, okay?" When there are no options, it is not fair that we speak to them as if they existed.

Another overlapping form of deception is to use the always useful "after". Unless it is true that then-once you eat or when you have bathed-we will let you continue with that game, we should not deceive you with this old formula. Maybe today there are no consequences, but our son will soon need to feel that he trusts us, and these details will prevent him.

The need to get involved

What is clear is that, if there is a risk of the child planting badly, by good means - that is, with great skill and patience - the danger diminishes.

The desire for love and attention of the child is so great that we can get him to do anything if we know how to drive, showing interest in what he does and should interrupt, actively involving us and diverting his attention from the game at hand at that moment to the "other" game-eating, going to bed, getting dressed-that we want to play.

Even if it's a party, and you do not like to go to sleep, looking for your collaboration - "Let's teach the bear how to order the room: the cars here, open the bed, fold the sweater ... now let's explain how to prepare the bathtub "- maybe we can get you to find the taste of the daily process of ordering room-bathroom-pajama-dinner-bedroom.

Yes, I understand you...

The courteous does not take away the brave, it says with all reason a popular saying ... we should also bear in mind that to hear at every moment "do not touch that" "out there do not pass", "No", "DO NOT!" It ends up despairing to anyone. However small the child may be, it must be the sea of ​​uneasiness that continually prevents him from following his adventures and explorations. Who would not rebel against such authority?

Although every day you have to improvise, it is possible to find a pleasant way for something that -we must admit it- is not: go to sleep just when dad and mom are home and the thing is more fun. It is good that you understand what your obligation is and comply with it, but we must understand that it is not pleasant for you.

Small independent

The negativism and brazenness of our son also has its good part: they are a first symptom of character and desire for autonomy. There is still much to instill in him, but it does not hurt that he learns to defend his positions.

For this reason, if in the end he did not obey, we will be careful to reprimand or punish his disobedience, but not his ability to value or decide. Expressions like "you are not who to say if you go or not" or "I do not care if you want to like it: you go and shut up" are true long-term time bombs.

Rocío Serrano
Advice:Lucía Herrero. Psychologist and family counselor

More information in the book:

Do not be afraid to say no, by Osvaldo Poli.Editorial Word.

Video: Negativism


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