Kids & Parenting

Why kids say I don't need you!

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defiant toddler
Have you seen THIS look before? Sure you have, if you're a parent!
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Understand why kids say I don't need you, and that they don't really mean it

I When a child starts saying, repeatedly, "I don't need you," don't worry about why. Parents need to understand that this is his attempt at, and the beginning of, establishing his independence and autonomy.

The "I don't need you" stage happens as early as two years of age. The child goes from chanting "I need you, I need you" incessantly, demanding your help and assistance at every turn, to the polar opposite in the blink of the eye.  He may even shove you away. This is part of the normal emotional development process of every child.

When a child is two years old he is making quantum leaps in every respect. He is rapidly transitioning from a dependent baby to a self-possessed toddler, who is on the go. He is very aware of his surroundings and is trying to figure out what things mean.

The two year old starts to talk and communicate much better and is able to do tasks that he could not do even a few months earlier. The child definitely has his preferences and if he does not like something he is going to let you know, loud and clear and over and over again.

He will begin exerting his independence, which often results in the infamous stage called the terrible twos. Whereas, he may have been compliant and well behaved before he is now in the process of establishing himself as an individual, separate from his parents, and he will resist and balk when he does not like what is going on. He will tell you that he does not need you, even though he does, because he wants to learn how to do things for himself and this is the way he expresses this need.

Do not take it personally. Just grin and bear it. This, too, shall pass.

Anyone who has raised a child knows that they can be glaringly and annoyingly stubborn when they choose to. Some kids are born that way while some may adapt this trait because of factors that surround them. Kids can be oppositional and most are at some point or another.

When a child is in that difficult stage where they say NO and cross their arms across their chests in defiance, glaring at you, defying you to do something about it and then, on top of that, informing you that they do not need you, take a deep breath. This is survivable.

When a child hits the independent phase, encourage him even though it may have been a whole lot easier on you when he was not resisting everything that you asked of him. Tell him that along with his new found independence comes a need for him to assume some of the responsibilities around the house.

This does not mean cleaning out the attic or mowing the yard. That comes later when the child is a teenager and still telling you he does not need you and in the next breath asks to borrow YOUR car.

Show a toddler how to dress himself and then tell him to do it. Tell him to pick up his dirty dishes and take them into the kitchen. Ask him to pick up his toys and help out in other ways around the house.
Guide him in his need for independence. Do not fight it. In fact, you are doing him an invaluable service when you recognize, within limits -- and only you can make that determination -- that he wants some autonomy and you are willing to give it to him.

You will be able to see your toddler's self esteem increase as she is given chores to do and completes them and does so independently. Be sure to praise her for her efforts.

When your young child emphatically informs you that she does not need you, you might respond by saying, "But I still need you." See what sort of response that elicits.

Certainly do not get mad at your child for saying this. This behavior is par for the course and it does not mean that your child suddenly thinks you are an awful parent and wants nothing to do with you.

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