5 classic strategies your toddler will use to get their way

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Sometimes, you are not sure whether to tear your hair out in frustration or laugh in incredule at some of the classic strategies your toddler might use to get what he wants. We talk about 5 such classic strategies.

Remember the incredible moment of pride when your kid said their first word? This is a milestone every parent looks forward to.

Then your little baby starts chattering non-stop. Then they become toddlers – toddlers who have a clear idea of what they want and how they should go about achieving their objective.

As your child hits the three years or four years mark, inevitably, they’re going to start talking back, they’re going to argue and they’re going to giving you the craziest reasons why they should get what they want.

Here are five classic strategies and lines our toddlers have used on us.

1. The sad face with the teary eyes

Strategies Toddlers Use

Can you resist this sad face?

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My girl’s favourite line to use on authority figures, especially the men is “But look at my sad face”. She usually couples it with enlarged teary eyes and a pensive set of her mouth. I have noticed boys don’t use this much. Girls seem to be born with this skill and they hone it with even more finesse as they grow and develop.

“Sad face” has so far gotten her chocolates, days off from school and late night television shows.

Success Rating: 8/10 on men, 4/10 on women

2. “X said I could.”

So every time I tell my toddler “no”, he nods his head and moves off….to the next authority figure. This is especially successful in large families living in a large space, where communication between the various individuals in the household might not be easily facilitated.

At some point, these sly little ones figure it’s just about knocking on the right door.

If I catch him doing whatever it was I had explicitly forbade him from doing, his defence would be “But…X (choose an over-indulgent adult who was present in the household at the time) said I could.”

Success Rating: 7/10 in large households with multiple adults (time to consider installing an intercom system in the house!)

3. “I’m so hungry”

Strategies Toddlers Use

Manytoddlers would go to great (sneaky) lengths to get her favourite snack!

This is usually said in the convenient vicinity of a snack store or an ice-cream parlour. And of course, they are starving so badly that they need to have something right there and then from the nearest store.

Usually accompanied by their pitifully compressing their not-so-small tummy with their chubby arms.

Success Rating: 2/10. Their eyes cutting eagerly towards their heart’s desire is a dead giveaway.

4. Threats

Strategies Toddlers Use

Over the top threats are one way some toddlers try to get their way

As kids grow older, they increasingly emulate the adults around them. One particularly interesting skill my nephew has picked up is the issuance of threats.  When someone doeesn’t do something he wants, he threatens you with horrific Armageddon-like repercussions.

For instance, over the weekend my sister had a few meetings that she needed to go to. Feeling guilty about spending their family time working, she explained to her son that she would have to miss out on their family brunches that particular weekend. Understandably, he was upset.

Looking at her as she was heading out the door, he said with a fierce scowl on his face : “If you walk out, when you come back, I will not talk to you ever again. And I will hide all your shoes and throw away all your make up. I will put your computer in the toilet bowl! And, and, and, I will pull out all of Meimei’s teeth! (She had just sprouted two)”

Good grief.

Success Rating: 1/10. Too dramatic to be believable. More funny than anything else. Sorry kids.

5. “But I’m just a little child!”

This is the classic line that pops up every time we ask them to do something they are perfectly capable of doing but does not like doing.

Exhortations to do chores like picking up their toys or even eating independently are situations when this line will be invoked followed by an angry pout of their lips. Their outrage – How dare we torture a little child like their by asking them to do things they are obviously too little to accomplish by themselves, are palpable in their expression and ever-rising tone.

Never mind that they eat by themselves when they are hungry enough or when their favourite food is on the table. Somehow, magically, they become a poor little tot lost in the huge, mean world.

Success Rating: 3/10. Only for people with bleeding hearts.

Often, I get incredulous at the curveballs their developing minds throw us, and it’s a constant struggle to keep up with their increasingly creative solutions. Still racking my brain on how to counter the especially effective ones!

What other outrageous reasons has your kid given you for not doing something? Or maybe it was to get something he wanted. Share with us in the comments below!

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Written by

Leigh Fan