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What to Do When Your Toddler Presses Your Buttons!

After giving a parenting lecture one day, a mother approached me complaining that her two-year-old was constantly whining, getting into everything and making her very frustrated. Trying to lighten the mood, I suggested that when she became annoyed, she should tell her toddler three things: “Grow up!” - “Act your age!” - “Don’t be such a baby!” We both laughed. Because, obviously, her child was in the process of growing up, was indeed acting his age, and was still a baby! Toddlers can present unique parenting challenges because of their never-ending energy. It’s important that you examine your expectations and make sure they’re age appropriate. Are some of the things that are upsetting you purely and simply normal childish behavior, typical of a toddler? Once you determine which behaviors are “normal”, you can continue lowering your blood pressure by deciding to choose your battles wisely. If you choose too many issues your day will be filled with stress. So, let the little stuff slide and conserve your energy for the important issues. A few things to consider as you make this choice:

  • What impact will this one thing have on my child’s development?
  • Is it a pattern or just a random occurrence?
  • Is it causing harm to anyone?

Take what you know of your child, weigh in his or her abilities against what you know to be right, and decide if his or her actions need correction—or if they are inconsequential in the grand scheme of life. Because, very likely, these issues will pass soon, and brand new ones will pop up in their place, and it will be back to prioritizing your battles once again.

Need more tips? The No-Cry Discipline Solution is your answer for gentle ways to encourage good behavior without whining, tantrums and tears.

Elizabeth Pantley's picture
No-Cry Solution Series Author

Elizabeth Pantley is a parent educator, mother of four, and the author of the now-classic baby sleep book, The No-Cry Sleep Solution, as well as six other books in the series, including The No-Cry Separation Anxiety SolutionThe No-Cry Potty Training SolutionThe No-Cry Discipline Solution, The No-Cry Picky Eater Solution, plus other successful parenting books. She is known worldwide as the practical, reasonable voice of respectful parenting.