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Heidi LPC
Heidi LPC, Psychotherapist
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 278
Experience:  Licensed Professional Counselor
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I have a question about my 2 and a half year old girls behavior.

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I have a question about my 2 and a half year old girls behavior. When another child says, for example, "This is a book" and points to a book, my daughter, almost by habit, says, ""That's NOT a book." - usually said in a very loud voice. This happens constantly. So basically,what another child says, and sometimes what I say, is negated by her immediately. She is otherwise a very bright, extremely energetic girl.
What do you think I should do to break her of this very annoying habit. It is hard for her to make friends.

Heidi LPC :

Hi there!! I am hoping to be of some assistance to you today! I know it can be quite confusing when dealing with children's behavior, but this question is quite common. Simply put, two-year olds are the age of 'no'!! They are just beginning to discover and exert their own power, and find their voice at this stage... and love using it! Giving your daughter every opportunity to use this new found power in positive ways will be helpful to her (and to you, as well!) while trying to redirect her without giving too much attention to the negative behavior. For instance, when she says, 'No--- it's NOT a book"... say "Wow! Look at all the pretty PICTURES in the book", and distract her from her quest to deny the object's name. If she hurts another child's feelings in the process, call attention to how sad her friend is, and pay attention to making that child feel better. The motto with children is this: "Whatever we pay the most attention to is what we see more of." Shower her with praise when she is helpful and kind and cooperative, and speak very limited to her when she does the opposite, and the negative behaviors will slowly be extinguished while the positive ones will be reinforced. Kids need us to teach them how to behave in circumstances, and they model after us. They look to us to guide them, and so always be sure to state your instructions/wishes in positive language so that she hears 'yes' more often than 'no'... and re-direct her to more positive choices, until the day when she can make them herself! Thank you so very much for your question and for using the site! If you have further questions or need clarification, please just let me know.... and I wish you all the very best as you journey down the often winding and foggy road of parenthood! :-)

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