A Question about a Child Saying No from a Real Mom

Dear Dr. Mom,
I am a first-time mom and when my three-year-old starts screaming no, especially out in public. I cringe. Fear comes first. I’m afraid that my reaction will trigger a full-blown, on-the-floor tantrum.  Anxiety and stress come next, because I know I need to come up with reactions that will get her back on track rather than make things worse, but I am totally unsure what reactions are likely to be successful. I can feel the exhaustion setting in with me before I even start searching in my not-very-full parenting tool bag. Help!  
Ezzy’s Mom
Dear Ezzy’s Mom,
More experience as a parent helps – just like in any job. We, as parents, are growing up at the same time our children are.
  1. Continuing to fill up your tool bag is a good idea. You can do that by reading parenting books and magazines and talking with other parents with children the same age or a little older to find out what things worked best for them. Just make sure the parents you talk to you know well enough to know they share your family values.
  2. Remember that setting limits and rules is actually good for Ezzy.  She may complain, but in the end she will do better when she clearly knows the expectations. Although she will push the limits at first, usually just a few times of reacting firmly but kindly will let her know that you mean business.
  3. Work toward being very matter-of-fact about your reactions – not with anger.
  4. Work toward staying in charge and not letting your uncertainty or fear cause you to give in or give up.
  5. Remember that this too will pass. I can remember getting to the point that I thought I was going to jump out the window (or hang my daughter out a window – just kidding) because I couldn’t stand some “phase” she was in for one more minute. Then, I would wake up the next day and the “phase” would have passed. I think my daughter somehow knew her time was up – no more could be tolerated.
If any readers have a question about any topics, feel free to submit in the “what do you think” section at the very bottom of this post.

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