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Defiance: Why it happens and what to do about it

Talk about having a bad day: Your toddler begins the morning by yelling, "No! I want to do it!" as you pour milk into his bowl of cereal. Then he refuses to put away one of the toys that he's taken out to play with.

In reality, dealing with a defiant toddler is a notorious part of the "Terrible Two's" and of the entire child-rearing process. There is very good reason why kids are referred to as being in their "Terrible Two's" at this stage.

Defiance: Why It Happens And What To Do About It

Try to be understanding of your toddler. When a child cries and screams because he or she isn't ready to leave the playground, offer a quick hug and let your little one know that you know just how hard it is to go home when you're having such a good time. This way, you can show your child that you're not the problem and that the two of you are actually on the same side.

Make sure that good behavior is being reinforced. Instead of paying attention to your little one only when he or she is being defiant, take note of the times when your youngster is behaving nicely also.

Start using time outs correctly. At this age, time outs should be used when all other strategies have failed. A time out can give a child time to get difficult emotions under control so that kids aren't being punished for not having a level of emotional control that is not typical of this age group. If a child explodes because he or she doesn't get something, a time out will provide the perfect opportunity to cool down.

Make sure that you're empowering your 2-year-old child. Giving kids this age a chance to make their own choices and explore their autonomy in controlled environments is good.

Rather than demanding that your child wears the pair of pants that you've chosen, let him or her pick between two options that you've picked out. Ask if he or she would like green beans or peas at dinnertime and offer two different options for a bedtime story.

Your child isn't guaranteed to break away from playing without issuing a complaint or two. With both patience and persistence, however, you can show your child that defiance is the not the best strategy for getting what he or she wants.

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