2 min video
6 min read

My child just says no to everything

- Avoid getting caught in frustrating battles

Things you can try

  1. Step back - try and work out what is making your child say no.

    For a toddler, saying “no” is a common development stage. Older children could be refusing to do what you want for different reasons.

    When I realised my daughter was actually worried, I suddenly felt I could tackle what was going on.

  2. Can you spot when you’ve got into a battle you didn’t want to have? It happens to us all.

    As soon as you notice, try naming what’s happening.

    You could say: “Ok, this isn’t going to work, we are in a battle now” or “Look what's happening! We are both getting cross!”

    Then suggest a time out: “Let’s take a minute to cool down”.

  3. A few small changes to the way you do things could help you and your child feel more in control. See which of these works for you.

    • Find ways for your child to make choices on a day-to-day basis.
    • Make sure you are clear about what the rules are and then stick to them.
    • Work together to create routines and rituals around things that you need to do.
    • Be really upfront about how long sharing turns, tv time or other activities can last. Try an egg timer!

    My daughter would take ages getting dressed and mornings were always rushed and stressful...I started giving her some choice over what to wear and she is much more willing to cooperate now.

  4. When your child refuses to share, jump in with a question to help them build empathy.

    Try asking - “I wonder how your friend is feeling now that he hasn’t had a go on the trampoline”

  5. All these fixes take patience! But they all get easier the more you can also give your child positive attention.

    Your child is unique and we hope there are some takeaways here that work for you. If you’re looking for help parenting children with additional needs, you can get specific advice from specialist organisations. Check out our list of support that we can recommend.

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