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Sidestepping Power Struggles with Toddler after Arrival of New Baby

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Hi, I need advice.

I have a toddler girl who just turned 2 and just received a bundle of joy a week ago.My toddler is now beginning to push and test the boundaries and recently I find my spouse trying to assert his control by taking things away from her.

For example, our toddler picks up an item that doesn't bring to her, the Dad tried to tell her it doesn't belong to her and tried to take it back from her. A tug of war soon follows as my toddler refuse to let go of the item and my spouse trying to remove it from her grasp. I often end up having to remind my spouse to ask nicely and wait for her to acknowledge before taking the item away. Of course there are times she chooses to run away and say no.

I do realize when I ask my girl nicely, she will often return the item to me. But how about the times when she refuses to do so? And how can we manage the negativity midst the power struggle?


Hi there,

Congratulations on your new bundle of joy! Your toddler can be forgiven if she is acting out right now. This is a huge adjustment for her. I would sidestep every power struggle. Instead, when she refuses to return the item, turn it into a game. Pick her up and throw her around and turn the moment into an opportunity to reconnect rather than a fight. She will forget all about the object.

Here's a link for an article I think will be really helpful to you. Specifically see Item #2 in my answer: Discipline for Defiant, Spirited Toddler

And here's the link for my new Sibling book, which is coming out this spring - just in time for you to avoid the usual big wave of sibling rivalry that comes when your baby starts being more of a competitor!

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