Brutal Honesty Among Two Year Olds
Your two year old speaks with brutal honesty. On the bright side, you never have to wonder where your toddler is coming from, what she wants, or what she’s thinking. However, her exceptionally direct speech can be off-putting and downright hurtful. How can you respond to some of your child’s brusqueness? What follows below is a series of “When she says . . . “, “You can say . . .” sets of dialogue.
When she says: NO!
You can say: I understand that you don’t want to _________. However, we need to do it because ___________________. Please be a big girl and accept this. We can do something that you want to do as soon as this is done.
When she says: I HATE YOU!
You can say: (Ok, this is a particularly break-taking utterance, but do not respond with emotion.) Well, I love you, and I’m so sorry that you feel like you hate me right now. However, I’m the parent, and I need you to trust me to do what is best. If you have to hate me right now, then I guess I can live with that, even though it hurts my feelings, because I believe that this is truly in your best interest . . . and I believe that you will come to see that in time too.
When she says YOU ARE MEAN!
You can say: I’m sorry that I am doing things that make you think I’m mean. Sometimes, things that are good for us don’t seem like it at the time. I’m just trying to do what I think is best. I hope that, once this moment is past, you will see what I’m talking about. We can talk about this more when things have settled down.
When she says: You are old.
You can say: Maybe so. That’s not a polite thing to say, however. Just because a statement may be true doesn’t mean it should be said. When you think about saying something, try to figure out if you could hurt anyone’s feelings. If so, is there something to be gained by saying it anyway? Is it worth it? (Note: your one or two year old will be too young to understand this concept, but you need to lay the foundation for this idea now.)
When she says: Why is your hair white?
You can say: My hair is white because I am getting to the age that my body doesn’t produce hair color like it did when I was your age. As we age, we are less able to produce hair color. I’m glad you asked me this question. If you have questions, I want you to feel comfortable asking me about them. However, some questions are the kind that some people think are hurtful. So, when you ask a question like this, some people may think you are telling them they are old, and that may hurt their feelings. It may be hard for you to know what questions may be hurtful, but , as situations come up, I’ll try to help you figure that out. Ok?
When she says: @#$%!*!!!!
You can say: (This is another breath-taker. Stay calm in response.) I understand that you are upset. If you want to talk about it, that’s fine, but we don’t use words like that in this family. I need you to calm down a bit, and then we can talk about this. Ok? (Then, when things have settled down, don’t forget to ask her where she learned that language.
These are but a few of the real shockers that your two year old can utter. However, by responding as indicated above, you can help guide your child to a better understanding of appropriate interaction.
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