Magazine article Working Mother

"Yes, Mommy!"

Magazine article Working Mother

"Yes, Mommy!"

Article excerpt

Your preschooler's running late for day care, and you're running even later for an early-morning meeting. Your inner monologue: I'm late but she's just sitting there and where are her sneakers and why does she say no when I ask her to get them?

Parents talk a lot about the "terrible twos," but how come your child is so oppositional at three? "Preschoolers seem so bright and independent, it's easy to overestimate their ability to understand and then deliver what we ask for," says Jerry L. Wyckoff, PhD, a coauthor of Getting Your Child From No to Yes. Kids this age still want to do what they want to when they want to. They also like consistency and predictability. "They may say no to avoid change or loss of control or a new situation," he explains. Plus, they're not ready for quick transitions. So if we say, "Do it fast," they're apt to answer, "No."

When you ask your child for something, try to see her world. Is she having fun playing and you're interrupting? Is she tired? Is she able to meet your expectations? "Performance equals motivation times ability," says Dr. Wyckoff. Your child needs at least some desire and some ability to meet your requests.

Then look at yourself. If you're tense, hurried or angry when you ask something of your child, do you think shell be motivated to cooperate? To help yourself, try some supportive self-talk, suggests Dr. Wyckoff. Say, "I can handle this. If she's not ready, I can bundle her up and take her and we can finish dressing at day care, and I'm stillagood parent." And avoid belittling your child, he advises. "It's just not good for kids, and they'll eventually dish it back to you. …

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