Its not a secret to those who know me that I don’t say NO to S. But let me clarify, its not that I don’t say no, I just prefer not to. I’d much rather use positive reinforcement and use no for when its an emergency. Some may think I’m naiive, I’ve had “trust me, you’ll say no”and maybe thats true. Maybe he’s only just turned 1 and I don’t have as many reasons to say no just yet but as he growns I will still certainly try.
When I was younger I received one of those email forwards about lil’ Johnny. Lil’ Johnny went to school and the new teacher asked all the children their names. Sarah, Mark, Paul, Emily…and when she came to lil’ Johnny he said “Johnny no” (because thats all he heard his parents say!). In that moment I laughed but it got me thinking about how what we say to our children affects them. If all we say is no then surely one day they are going to turn back and say the same thing to us. I understand that its important to have boundaries and let a child know what they can and cannot do (or what might put them in danger) but at 1 and 2, they don’t really understand why what they are doing is bad. Humans are born with a curious appetite. When they are young, everything is new to them, they want to explore and touch and taste and squeeze, I don’t think we should be saying no to that. If S was to walk to the edge of a staircase, I’d shout no but if he’s just “typing” away on the keyboard or playing with a light switch I don’t feel the need to say it. If I didn’t want him doing something I’d try and redirect his attention elsewhere. Children (especially infants) are easily distracted and I’d rather use that to my advantage than saying no you can’t do this or you can’t do that.
Do you find yourself saying no alot? What phrases do you use instead that are more positive than no?