NO has been a constant word in her vocabulary since Ay became verbally expressive at 1.5 years.
NO!!! said vehemently
nooooooo! said in a pleading voice
no said quietly
no-o-o-o-o-oooooo said in a teasing voice
No is a powerful word and children are quick to learn that.
Little surprise because no is also a word that parents use A LOT with their children. Experts have stated that a toddler hears no from their parents an average of 400 times per day!
“No, don’t touch that!”
“No, that won’t happen.”
“No, you can’t do that.”
“No, you can’t be that.”
“No, that’s not possible.”
Our need to say no stems from a variety of places and carries a range of implications.
Sometimes, we use it to set boundaries and limits, to reinforce set boundaries, to express our exasperation, to keep children safe, to keep them healthy, to control behavior, when we are triggered, when we are in a hurry and so much more.
No is a powerful word because it helps us communicate our preferences, state our boundaries, disagree with others, withhold our sense of self and so much more.
As a parent, you would agree with me that most of the times, if not all of the time, no is a necessary word for adults. And we expect our children to abide and to obey.
How comfortable, then, are we to abide by the no of our child? A little bit? A Lot? Every time? Some of the time?
When your child says no to another bite of the food; to wearing a set of clothes you have picked for them; to joining a new class; to giving a hug to an aunty you are visiting; to stopping play; to returning your phone – you know how it goes – there are dozens of instances I can state and I can go on and on.
This little assertions of their voice is practice for the future when they are on their own and need to fend for themselves – at the workplace, in a relationship, and other adulting situations. When they are allowed to say no in a safe space, with you, their parents, are encouraged to use their voice and are respected for using it and validated for their preferences, you are more likely to raise a teenager and an adult who is comfortable saying no, holding their own boundaries and respecting themselves the way they should be.
We all want to raise confident children who will stand their ground. It starts now. It starts with you!
Tell me in the comments – what are the little ways in which you allow your child to practice their no? Or if you plan to start doing it, share with me how