✨Ready to make BIG changes on your parenting journey? Don’t miss the FREE video training: 5-Step No-Yelling Formula. Gets Your Kids To Listen The First Time, Every Time! Learn how to How to avoid blaming, shaming, or causing your kid any pain when you set consequences! Grab your spot in the FREE video training HERE…
As a parent, I thought I was prepared for anything.
But when my toddler’s defiance hit, I quickly realized that all my parenting books and advice couldn’t prepare me for the real-life challenge of staying calm in the face of toddler meltdowns.
One particularly memorable incident was when we were at the store, and my toddler found a toy that she absolutely had to have.
I told her that we weren’t buying any toys that day, but she refused to let go of the toy and started screaming and crying.
In the past, I might have given in just to make the tantrum stop, but this time, I was determined to stay calm and stick to my decision. I took a deep breath and calmly explained to her why we couldn’t buy the toy. It took a while, but eventually, she calmed down and we left the store without the toy.
Looking back, I realized that my commitment to staying centered and not letting my emotions get the best of me was what helped me navigate the situation.
And as a result, I emerged from the experience a stronger, more confident parent who knew that I could handle even the toughest moments of toddler defiance.
Focus on Connection
Strong-willed toddlers thrive on autonomy and independence, but they also need a strong connection with their parents to feel safe and secure.
When a toddler feels connected, they are more likely to cooperate and less likely to engage in power struggles and defiance. To maintain a strong connection with a strong-willed toddler, parents should focus on spending one-on-one time with their child, actively listening to their concerns, and praising their efforts.
Spending one-on-one time with a strong-willed toddler can be challenging, especially for busy parents. However, setting aside time each day to connect with your child can make a big difference in their behavior.
This can be as simple as playing a game, going for a walk, or reading a book together. During this time, give your child your undivided attention and focus on building a positive relationship.
Active listening is another important component of maintaining a strong connection with a strong-willed toddler. When your child is upset or defiant, take the time to listen to their concerns without judgment. Repeat back what you heard to ensure that you understand their perspective.
This will help your child feel heard and validated, which can reduce their resistance and increase their cooperation.
Lastly, it’s important to praise your strong-willed toddler’s efforts and not just their achievements.
When you notice your child making an effort to behave positively, such as sharing or using kind words, be sure to acknowledge and praise them.
This will help them feel confident and capable, which can reduce their need to engage in defiant behavior.
By focusing on connection, parents can build a positive relationship with their strong-willed toddler and reduce the likelihood of defiance.
Use Positive Reinforcement
Positive reinforcement is a powerful tool that parents can use to shape the behavior of their strong-willed toddler.
The concept of positive reinforcement involves rewarding desirable behavior to encourage its repetition. By using positive reinforcement, parents can promote cooperation and reduce defiance in their child.
Praise is one of the most effective forms of positive reinforcement. When your strong-willed toddler behaves positively, be sure to praise them for their efforts.
Use specific language to describe what they did well, such as “I like the way you shared your toys with your friend.” This will help your child understand what behavior you want to encourage.
Rewards can also be used as a form of positive reinforcement.
When your strong-willed toddler behaves positively, offer them a small reward, such as extra playtime or a special treat.
This will reinforce the positive behavior and encourage your child to repeat it in the future.
Visual aids, such as sticker charts or token systems, can also be effective forms of positive reinforcement.
When your strong-willed toddler behaves positively, give them a sticker or token to add to their chart. Once they have collected a certain number of stickers or tokens, they can earn a reward.
It’s important to note that positive reinforcement should be used in conjunction with other strategies, such as setting clear expectations and consequences for negative behavior.
By using positive reinforcement, parents can encourage positive behavior in their strong-willed toddler and reduce defiance.
Strong-willed toddlers often resist direction and can be more likely to comply when they feel a sense of control over their environment. One effective way to give them a sense of control is to offer choices.
Offering choices allows your strong-willed toddler to feel like they have a say in what is happening around them.
It can be as simple as asking, “Do you want to wear the red shirt or the blue shirt today?” or “Do you want to have apple slices or carrots with your snack?”
By offering choices, parents can promote positive behavior and cooperation in their child.
It’s important to note that when offering choices, the options should be age-appropriate and reasonable. Too many options can be overwhelming for a toddler, so keep it simple.
For example, if you’re trying to get your child dressed, offer two choices that you’re okay with them wearing, rather than allowing them to choose anything in their closet.
It’s also important to set boundaries and consequences for negative behavior.
If your strong-willed toddler refuses to make a choice or chooses something that isn’t an option, calmly let them know that they are not making a choice and that you will make the decision for them.
This teaches them that there are consequences for negative behavior while still allowing them to feel a sense of control through making choices.
By offering choices, parents can give their strong-willed toddler a sense of control and reduce defiance. It can also be a way to promote independence and decision-making skills in their child.
Print This Positive Parenting Guidebook – The 5 Pillars Of Positive Parenting
Listen… parenting with connection and positivity has been seen as permissive and lazy parenting BUT this is totally not the case.
I am a mom of 3 beautiful children and I’ve spent HOURS, DAYS, MONTHS, and YEARS researching this topic and seriously, it is my favorite way to parent.
Way better than what I grew up with – which was A LOT of yelling, spanking and frankly, neglect.
This little guidebook is a golden nugget that you can have for free – and print it out! Put it on the fridge, refer to it often. It’s really a great tool for kids of all ages.
Download Your Free Printout
- Download the guidebook. You’ll get the printable, plus join hundreds parents who receive my weekly parenting tips and ideas! (Sometimes I’ll promote a parenting program, but only the best ones that are in the positive parenting community, I promise.)
- Print. Print out the guidebook!
- Place it where you can see it. There is a lot of great information in this guidebook, even though it’s small. It’s power packed full of great stuff so put it where you can refer to it often.