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In some cases parents make a conscious decision to bring their children up differently from the way in which they were raised. Rather than being an aggressive or a submissive parent, Parenting Skills Online advocates being an assertive parent. Book 9 tells you how but you can get started right away and download Book 1, ‘Being a Parent’ FREE!

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PostHeaderIcon Strong-Willed Two-Year Old. Help!

My two-year old daughter is becoming increasingly demanding and strong-willed. I don’t seem to be able to move without her either screaming or hanging onto me all the time. It’s as if she just wants her own way all the time. It’s incredibly frustrating as I can’t get anything done and sometimes I find I’m so tired I lose my temper and shout at her, which I’m always sorry for afterwards.

Have you any suggestions on how to get through this ‘terrible two’s’ phase any easier?

Sandra, Epping, UK

Supernanny’s reply:

Children learn about attachment to their mother, or primary care-giver, at an early age but if for any reason this attachment isn’t secure, such as the child or yourself may have spent some time in hospital, the child can become quite anxious when you leave her or are out of her sight.

While you may find her behaviour a sign of her developing a strong will and ‘trying to get her own way’, she genuinely does feel as if she’s being left alone.

The one thing children of all ages require is attention. If they can’t get good attention, they’ll behave in such a way as to get any attention, good or bad. Pushing her away and getting angry will only make the situation worse.

I would suggest spending as much time with her as possible over the next few days, playing or reading with her and ensuring that you let her know if you have to go into another room so that she is aware and can come with you. At the same time, if you can start to accept and acknowledge her feelings (see Book 2 ‘Feelings’) and speak to her openly and congruently about what you have to do, you will find she will quickly be a happier child. A child’s natural state is happiness and within a week of giving her lots of good attention, you should find a significant change.

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It’s important to help our children feel good about themselves and this depends on their sense of self-worth. There’s an expression which really sums up labelling a person: ‘If you label me, you negate me’.
Do you ever find yourself chastising your children by calling them names? The child will quickly know that you’re not pleased but will they understand exactly what they’ve done wrong by being labelled?

It is far more useful to describe the unacceptable behaviour than ‘label’ a child ‘good’, ‘bad’, lazy’, ‘clumsy’, etc, which do nothing to tell the child what he/she has done wrong. Labelling a person can make them feel hurt and resentful and even less likely to change the behaviour or be more co-operative. Also children trust and believe their parents and if they are given the same labels for long enough, they become more ‘good’, ‘bad’, lazy’, ‘clumsy’, etc to fulfil our expectations of them.

This book explores ways of getting the message across without criticising and making a child feel insignificant.

Book 3 – Labels
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