The word NO is a word that some parents dread their little ones learning. People have warned me, "Just wait until she starts saying NO!" I've even heard stories of parents avoiding the word all together in hopes that their child wouldn't learn to say it or use it.
But in the end...
NO is inevitable.
NO is going to happen.
And there's NO way around it.
NO is a powerful word. The first impulse might be to stop this inconvenient and threatening word as soon as passes through a toddlers lips ("Don't you say NO to me!"). Hearing NO from a small child can potentially bring on feelings of vulnerability, inadequacy or loss of power.
However, when my daughter El learned to say NO, I was surprised that our relationship transformed for the better. With this powerful, 2-letter word, she holds me accountable to my parenting ideals and reminds me that she deserves clarity and consistency.
Just by uttering the word NO she can say...
- Tell me what's happening now.
- Tell me what's happening next.
- Slow down.
- Let me try first.
- I'm frustrated.
- Don't touch me.
- Show me you understand.
- I wanted that.
- Give me a choice.
- Set a limit.
It's hard to hide my smile and pride as she asserts her independence, challenges authority, asks questions, tries and tries again and demands respect. NO has brought out these bold and beautiful qualities in my daughter. Therefore, even though this word may be inconvenient to hear at times, I wouldn't trade them for the ease of a million Yes's.
What to do When Toddlers Say NO; Janet Lansbury