My 2½-year-old recently heard a new song that he insisted we dance to over and over again. A few days later, I tried to show my parents how much he loves it, but when I turned it on, he burst into tears and insisted I turn the song off. What happened?


Kids this age often express their emotions intensely because they don’t know how to say what they’re feeling. It sounds as if your request may have taken him by surprise and he couldn’t go along with your wishes because he felt overwhelmed. Something that had previously been reserved for just the two of you unexpectedly became open to a larger group. He may have felt put on the spot or he might just have a shy disposition in general.

It’s important to reassure your son that it’s OK to say no when he doesn’t want to do something. Over time, this will help him develop more appropriate ways of saying no.

Written by Dr Ruwa Sabbagh. Originally published in Today’s Parent, September 2009.

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