Friday, March 16, 2012

My approach to saying "no"

Audrey is sweet, loving, cuddly and adorable...but she is also curious, mischievous, independent and fearless! Most of our days are filled with climbing, running, jumping and/or leaping of some sort. I think I'll be completely gray before she turns two, but I try so hard not to just say "no" to her. If I did, it would probably be the only word I said all day long! I want her to explore, learn, make mistakes and be active. I don't want her to be taught that she has to do everything the way I do it. I want her to learn to be herself and to love herself. However, I don't want her to get seriously hurt, and I don't want her to think it's okay to do things that are dangerous to herself or to others either.

So, I try not to say "no." Instead, if she's doing something that could be dangerous, we say "ta-ta." We then follow that by explaining why we don't want to do whatever it was that we just "ta-ta"ed. For example: She loves to try to climb on the stone fireplace. When she does this, we say, "Ta-ta, Audrey. We don't climb on the fireplace, do we? Fire is hot and we could get burned, and we could fall and get hurt on the stones. Mommy doesn't want you to get hurt. It would make her very sad. We can sit back here and look at the fireplace though. And if the fire isn't on, you can touch the stones, but we don't climb on them."

My hope is that instead of just hearing "no" every time she tries to do something she shouldn't (which is often), she starts to understand some of the explanations we give her, and learns to explore in safer ways. Do I really think she understands everything I'm saying right now? No, of course not! But she is very smart and I do think she has a basic understanding.

With time and repetition, I hope that this approach encourages her to explore her world in a safe way, instead of discouraging her and making her think she can't do anything. I feel like kids that are just told "no" all the time, grow up to be adults that are either afraid to take (safe) risks, or dangerously rebellious, neither of which I want for her.

So far, it is working well for us! She will approach something we have "ta-ta"ed before, stand there a moment, look at us, and then say, "aaaaaa-ta!" It is ridiculously cute, but also makes me feel like I'm doing something right.

I'm curious though, how do you approach situations like this? Some parenting experts seem to encourage saying "no" in a firm voice. Do you say "no" to your kids or do you have your own approach?


Sonya said...

We say "uh oh" when the kids do something they aren't supposed to. We sing a little song "uh oh that's so sad, we don't pull our sisters hair" Usually we put Colton in time out or "uh oh" time after he does something like that!

when we do say "no" we try to say "no thank you" instead before we redirect them to something else. I think it makes "NO" sound a little nicer.

Ruth said...

I've never really thought about what I say lol. With the little ones I say uh-uh and use my face and tone of voice to show what I mean. I also tend to give a one liner about why not. I'll play closer attention now :) Thanks!