Your child suddenly refuses everything you offer him overnight and you wonder what could be behind this behavior?
Children are rarely of a conciliatory nature and parents know that they will sometimes have to deal with crises. It’s part of learning for adult life (and learning for parenthood!). But sometimes, the crises become invasive and the child persists in everything and nothing, without us understanding why his behavior has changed so drastically.
Assess the environment
It's always a little unsettling when a child who was so temperate begins to howl blackly when you offer him white, or he systematically rejects all the food you offer him, even his favorite foods!
It is a good idea to start by determining if your approach could be modified or improved to maximize your chances of success when intervening with your child. In fact, it is a necessary exercise to get your child to be receptive to your attempts. After all, you are the adult!
You can also look to see if anything in his environment may have contributed to hisbehaviour change. Have you moved recently? Did dad go on a business trip? Did mom change an important part of the routine? Has there been a change of daycare, school, dating? Children can be very sensitive to changes in their routine and their mood suffers. It may be that once the moment of disturbance has passed, you will find your little angel who will have had time to assimilate the situation.
The opposition phase
Do you know the expression “ terrible two ”? This expression - sometimes used with affection and often with desperation by parents - describes a normal and he althy phase in a child's development during which he learns to refine his sense of opposition. Between the ages of 18 months and 3 years, the child begins to realize his impact on his environment and those around him and quickly finds that when he opposes his parents, he receives more attention. It is therefore normal that he has fun testing your limits since he is in the middle of a learning period.
If your child is in this age range and you think he is in his opposition period, you can develop a win-win intervention strategy to help him get through this stage in a rewarding way. It may be a process strewn with trial and error, but by offering him the tools to help him verbalize what he feels, respecting his needs andby establishing beacons to reassure him, you will be on the right path.
The article La phase du non by Solène Bourque, psychoeducator, gives good tips that will make your daily life easier and help you get through this period well equipped.
What if it were more serious?
Although the opposition phase is normal and he althy for children, it normally fades around the age of 3 as the child begins to have a more harmonious relationship with their parents again. If you continue to observe oppositional behavior and it affects the quality of your relationship, your child may be developing oppositional disorder. If you are concerned, do not hesitate to call a parental crisis line for emotional support and to consult your family doctor so that he can evaluate your child and advise you what to do.