I don't know if babies should start having a sense of independence this early (unless if I'm confusing it with being stubborn ), my boy 17 months now; doesn't want to be assisted when he gets stuck in a situation while playing. He rather prefers crying and pushing himself until he gets himself out of that situation (here the situation being, the things he's trying to connect are not fitting in).

This has become devastating in the house because when you try to help him he will cry hysterically and put the thing(for instance his toy) back to the way it was before you came and aided him out of the situation which is absurd.

Many are times that the crying continues until he solves the situation or gets himself out of it. I'm just wondering has anyone faced this and how did they go about it.

I pretend to be mad at him for crying and not allowing me to help but it's not working. The crying is what bothers me because unlike other times, you just can't sooth him out of it until he solves it by himself. Should I let him just cry?


After following some of the advice it really worked well during our play time. So this is what i did, when he starts crying due to frustrations, I clap my hands and say you're doing it. This actually worked well because he knows when I clap it means well done. So we've managed smooth playtime without crying. Babies 😀

2 Answers 2


My son developed a sense of independence at around the same age. Our pediatrician told us it was normal. He rarely cries when he's frustrated, but the frustration clearly shows on his face.

My strategy is to praise him for his efforts. When I help him, I try to guide him with broadly applicable advice. For example, when he tries to force Duplo blocks together with all his might, I remind him that you don't have to push hard if you position them correctly. He communicates when he wants help by saying "dada" or "mama" and pointing at or handing us the toy that's causing him frustration.

I want to teach him that patience and effort pay off. I'm deliberately trying to develop a mastery orientation. As a child, I was constantly praised for my intelligence, which led me to develop a strong performance orientation. I think that set me back many years in my career.

  • That's great, thanks for this. I bet kids follow after parents. I do agree on the praising side. So far he has done everything on his own, my work was to just cheer him. From learning how to walk and how to climb and eat. Thanks. I think this might help distract the crying. 😀
    – user22314
    Jun 29, 2016 at 11:43

I would say from your post that your toddler demonstrates a very strong sense of independence. This can actually kick in at various ages, but toddlers do typically want independence once they can move independently.

This independence can be of varying levels, but your toddler obviously has an urge to solve problems himself, and if you solve them he is frustrated as he no longer gets to solve the problem.

Rather than be mad at him, or try to help, you could try helping him understand you are there and can help if he needs you to. At that age this may require you to solve similar issues where he can see, or provide tools for him to use (eg if he is stuck trying to get up on something, can you provide a box for him to stand on? Don't give it to him, just place it nearby.)

  • Sounds good, . The only problem is the crying. Lol I'm just wondering if he'll get over it? I always try to be near so that I can assist just in case. Like the other day he wanted to climb on this big chair but he's still short, I told him he can't and helped him climb, he cried and got out of the chair and started from where he was stuck, trying to climb on his own. Until he gave up, I felt helpless.
    – user22314
    Jun 28, 2016 at 13:02
  • @SyombuaMuthoka Next time you may try to give him a hand to catch. Not to lift him up, but just to make a temporary support, which he can use if he wants.
    – CiaPan
    Jun 29, 2016 at 13:40
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    And remember, crying, for a small child, is nowhere near as heart wrenching as it is for the parent. For them it is the only way to communicate frustration, displeasure, pain, anger, etc - so if he is still trying to solve the problem while crying, the indicator is not that he is asking you for help, but that he wants to solve it and is just complaining that he hasn't managed yet. I imagine when he does he looks very satisfied?
    – Rory Alsop
    Jun 29, 2016 at 13:49
  • @RoryAlsop oh yeah, infact he laughs and runs around the house just to show me he managed. Thanks again. I think we also show frustrations when things don't work out.
    – user22314
    Jun 29, 2016 at 14:11

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