"My child won't come when I call."
Worth a battle?
It's not realistic to expect a 2-year-old to abandon, say, the close study of the TV remote that he's conducting just because you tell him to. That said, you don't want to be at the utter mercy of his whims. "When you repeatedly call but your child doesn't show up until he's ready, you're actually teaching him to ignore you," says Elizabeth Pantley, author of The No-Cry Discipline Solution and a mom of four.
Tactics to try: Make it sound worth the trip.
When 17-month-old Isabella Covert of Wauwatosa, WI, is in a run-the-other-way mood, her mom, Juanita, pours as much excitement into her tone of voice as she can. "Then I'll scoop her up to show her I'm happy she's with me." At home, Covert sometimes lures Isabella by waving a puppet or playing a musical toy and dancing.
"Instead of calling 'Come here now!' give two warnings," says Pantley. In the toy store, I might have tried "Page, you'll need to come in five minutes." And then, in five minutes, "Page, please come now." Pantley suggests waiting a minute, and if your child still doesn't respond, taking him by the hand and saying, "When I call, I expect you to come."A toddler can't tell time but will quickly catch on to your progression of heads-ups. (You can also say something like "Two more trips down the slide.") It helps, Pantley adds, to let your child know you understand his point of view: "I bet you wish you could stay in this toy store forever, but it's time to go now. Hug the toy doggy one more time. Now here are my keys to hold." Warn, distract, have your way.
Of course, sometimes even your best efforts will still net a full Limp Noodle. But a little creativity and practice may spare you a steady diet of them.
Parenting contributing editor Paula Spencer is the author of Momfidence! An Oreo Never Killed Anybody and Other Secrets of Happier Parenting.