Our expert says:
Gosh, we seem to be having a flood of questions about tantrums these days ! I'm tempted to throw one myself. Try raising these questions also on the parenting forum, to get the views of many really experienced parents !
She is probably being negativistic, practising power tactics by saying NO. There is a stage ( sometimes several stages ) when a young child explores her power by saying NO, and by doing the opposite of what she is asked. Sometimes one can use this --- when you want her to sit down in the bath, ask her to stand, and she will more likely choose to sit. Instead of arguing about whether she will get dressed, or whether she will put on the dress you chose, put out two dresses, and ask her to choose which to put on. Maybe suggesting that you prefer the red one, and she will probably choose the green one and put it on. In other words, give her opportunities to feel empowered by refusing some suggestions, while still in fact essentially doing what you want her to do.
I don't think a mild smack now and then is disasterous, but as you have found it solves nothing, so it is never useful. But the guilt doesn't help you or her. As Lin says, you can often persuade her that the right thing happens to be her idea --- even agreeing cheerfully wih her suggestion ( which she hasn't actually made yet ). Kids as brilliant at manipulating parents --- so feel free to manipulate back, so long as it is in a healthy direction.
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