The Causes of the “No” Phase and How Long It Lasts


Many mothers become more stressed when their children enter the “No” Phase. However, the “No” Phase is an important part of your child’s development. In this article, we will cover how to best interact with toddlers in the “No” Phase, the causes of the stage and how to handle children going through this phase.


What is the “No” Phase? What age does it last until?

The “No” Phase is a child’s first rebellious phase and starts when children start recognizing their desires and try to make sure they are fulfilled. The beginning and end of the phase depends on the child but is usually from around 1.5 years old until around 2 years old.

During this phase, children, who until now were only able to cry and scream, are now able to use the word “No” to get what they want. This often makes parents angry and they end up taking strict actions. However, it Is important that children learn how to communicate with others during the “No” Phase. Children learn how others react when they say “no”. If parents get angry and turn away, children will learn that they cannot get everything they want which will affect their self-confidence and identity development.

By the time children become 3-4 yrs old, they are better able to communicate with others and self-regulate when they are not happy. So parents should think of the “No” Phase as a stage of their development that ends eventually and handle their child’s actions on a one by one basis.

What are the causes of the “No” Phase and How should it be handled?

・Children are unable to express their feelings correctly in words
Children who have just started talking often have trouble expressing their feelings which causes them stress and leads them to say “no” instead. Sometimes mothers get irritated by this behavior and have trouble communicating properly with their children. However, it is important that parents stay calm and try to encourage their child to express how she/he is really feeling.

・They want to be spoiled
Some children feel that if they say “no” or ask for what they want their parents will spoil them. Children in the “No” Phase often want to be taken seriously and want their parents to see their side of the story. However, because they are unable to communicate these feelings in words they make trouble and rebel so they get their way. It is not necessary for parents to fulfill all their child’s wishes but it is important that parents do not get angry and spoil their children sometimes.

・They do not want to be ordered or do not want to do something
When children are playing and they are ordered to do something else they often use the word “no” to express their feelings. Many children rebel against being ordered to do something. When this happens, it is important for parents to consider their child’s feelings (“yes I understand how you may not like it”) and then explain the reason why they have to do the activity they do not like in a simple manner that they can understand.

・They want to do it but are not good at it
During this phase where children still have many things they cannot do, some children say “no” when they are asked to do something they are not good at. However, when parents help out too much because they assume their child cannot do it, children end up getting more stressed and angry. It is important for parents to let children do things on their own and praise them for the tasks they were able to accomplish.