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How Much Say Should a Toddler Have?

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Olivia is a strong-willed, independent soul.

I remind myself daily of the ways God could use a soul like hers. Not because I am The Perfect Mother. But because if I didn’t, I would be sorely temped to squash that soul and make it a meek, powerless thing that I could wrap around my finger. Because life with a strong-willed, independent toddler is hard.

We have learned some tricks that help us. We ask her often what she wants. We give her choices. We let her choose. It seems to satisfy her soul to be treated almost as a fellow adult sometimes.

But is that appropriate? Should we be treating our two-year-old as an equal at times?

Please don’t misunderstand. We do put our foot (feet?) down. We tell her when the choice is ours to make. We make it clear when the answer is “No” and nothing she does can change that.

But are we causing confusion by this? Sometimes she gets to choose, other times she doesn’t. Does she see the rhyme and reason behind each instance?

If you have raised a toddler, how did you do it? What worked for you? Did you make all the choices? Did your child? Did you find a technique that worked? Can you see, now that your child is older, how that technique has helped your child develop? Or do you wish you would have chosen a different technique? What do you notice about your child that has been effected by the technique you wish you hadn’t chosen?

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