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The Rise of the Demanding Toddler

 Posted by on April 3, 2012
Apr 032012

This morning Aiden told me that he needed to get dressed so we could go outside and ride his horse toy.

Here’s how it went down in toddler speak:

Aiden:  Get dressed. {He pulls on his shirt.}
Me:  You would like to get dressed?
Aiden:  I want go outside.  I want ride neigh.  {That’s what he calls his horse.}

Conversations like this have become common place in our house.

Aiden has an opinion about everything and communicates it clearly to us.

He often says, “I don’t like this.” or “I don’t want that.”  “I want ____.”

Sometimes these behaviors are completely acceptable.
For example, I’ll give him choices for foods or activities.
He makes a decision and tells me what he wants.
{sometimes he changes his mind}

Other times, these behaviors are a bit frustrating.
Like this example from last night.

We were having pasta and salad for dinner.
Aiden ate a few bites of pasta.  He ate all of his blueberries and then said he wanted goldfish.
We told him that we were having pasta and salad for dinner not goldfish.

He proceeded to repeat that he wanted goldfish over and over again.
He added in some tears for good measure.

{I will say that I am pleased that he’s using his words to communicate what the problem is rather than just crying.  We’ve been working on that for a long time.  Whenever he would cry about something, I would ask him to use his words to tell what was wrong or to show me what he needed.}

He finally decided to eat more blueberries.

I struggle with little battles like this.

When is it appropriate to give in, and when should I stand my ground?

By allowing Aiden to call the shouts, am I creating problems for the future?

{As a side note, I don’t think he really calls the shots now.  In this morning’s example, we didn’t actually make to outside until after lunch.  I am wondering if it could become an issue in the future…}

Here's Aiden hiding from the camera. He likes having pictures taken on his terms.

What are your thoughts on this?

How do you handle demanding children?

  11 Responses to “The Rise of the Demanding Toddler”

  1. Nico, 2.5, is the same. I give in for small things, to avoid tantrums. Once he had a tantrum about a cookie 30 min before dinner, I didn’t give in and ended up with a 45 min tantrum on my hand. Next day same request, I didn’t want to go through that again and made him promise to eat his whole dinner, gave him a cookie. Well it turned out well, he had his cookie and his dinner. After all, who said you can’t have dessert first ;)

    • Sometimes I think it’s hard to figure out what’s a small thing. Does this really matter in the end. Should I really be making a big deal about this, or is this something we really could let go.

      Glad Nico ate his cookie and his dinner. If I gave Aiden a cookie first, he would just ask for another cookie. :)

      • I also made clear it was 1 cookie not more, he seemed ok with it :) I think you need to figure out what’s a big deal to you and it’s different for everyone. I ask myself if it’s really worth it in the end to have a big tantrum for what it is and if it will change something or not in the end.

  2. This is my first time reading your posts via Pinterest! I have a very opinionated 3 year old, and I often struggle with finding a balance between more “traditional-christian” parenting, if that is even a good/fair way to put it, and my son’s budding personality! I want him to listen and obey, and to learn to submit and follow a greater authority. I I also have a child who has great ideas, he is a “finisher” meaning he likes to have every puzzle piece fit/block in it’s correct box/TIME to see things through, and he likes to be involved in our plan for the day. This causes me to really have to assess each situation and figure out if he is trying to drag his feet when I say it is time to go, or if it is appropriate to give him the time and space he needs to finish his current project. Now of course there are occasions that I know he is trying to be manipulative, and I try to nip that in the bud, but I also want to respect and nurture his personality, the things that make him tick, because those will be his strengths someday!

    • So glad you found me on Pinterest! I walk the same line. I want my son to have freedom to be himself and explore, but I also know he needs boundaries and consistency.

  3. My daughter Olive, 22 months, is the most demanding, stubborn, & emotional person I know. Most days, I can handle this with a soft voice and patient hands, but some days I end up screaming into a pillow (literally). It can be very frustrating to have this little person acting like a rabid monkey on your back. She is talking, but even though she doesn’t say these exact things, I can constantly imagine her saying, “Mommy? Where are you going what are you doing I’m going too I want that now now now now come here come here I want this!!!!!!”. Most of the times, we’re in the house when she’s acting like this so I’m able to deal (tune it out) a little better. But her most favorite thing to do is scream, “Help! Help! Help!” when I’m trying to strap her in her carseat. She’s telling me she wants to help do it, but all everyone else sees/hears is a wild haired woman shoving a baby into a carseat who’s screaming help.

    I’m still learning on how to deal with her demanding behavior but every time I think I’ve got a handle on it, she surprises me with a new way of acting! Ahhhh, parenting a toddler – so….interesting?

    (By the way, I pinned this post to Pinterest – hope that’s okay!)

    • It’s definitely okay to pin this! Thanks for sharing. :) It sounds like you have a little shadow who wants to be just like you. And I feel the same way about thinking I’ve got everything figured out and then my son throws a curve ball at me. Keeps us on our toes, don’t they?

  4. One thing my mom has said that I try to remember is that the traits that drive us crazy when they are kids are the exact traits we WANT them to have as adults. The ability to know what one wants and let it be known, then not back down? That’s a pretty good thing in an adult. In a toddler? Not so much. :-/ I think that letting them have a say in some things helps them to develop this good trait and also lets you pick the battles that really matter.

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