Thursday, December 3, 2009

Never Say "No"

As a parent, this is the last thing I ever thought I could believe in.  However, it worked!!

I would guess my son was about 14 months old.  He was walking and getting into everything in sight!  I, as most first mothers do, had made my home "kid friendly".  Yet, there was my son --- always reaching, climbing, finding things he shouldn't have.  Not wanting to duplicate the negative environment that I grew up in, I refused to use the word "no".  I began experimenting with phrases such as: "That's not yours." and "That belongs to mommy." even going so far as to get down on my hands and knees to show my son alternatives to whatever he was wanting at the time. I insisted that others who watched my son while I worked not use the word "no".  Whether they did or not -- I will never know.  However, what I can tell you, is that I never went through the stage where your child turns to you, hands on hips, and frankly states "No!"  In fact, my son has adopted a much more democratic way of stating that he doesn't like something, doesn't want something, etc.  I can actually credit him for helping me to find myself speaking negative at times.

I look back on the day that I presented my mother with the thought of never using the word "no".  I wasn't sure, but I thought she would never stop laughing at me.  How crazy she thought I was!  "What difference do you think it will really make at this age?", she asked me. 
"I am not sure it will make a difference at all.  But I don't want the negative conotations that the word brings.  I want him to have a reason, not just be told no."  After hanging up I wasn't so sure I was sane, either.  But, I am glad I rebuked her cynacism and went with my gut.

To this day, when I see my son interact with others (especially younger kids) he doesn't use the word.  And, now that he is a teenager, it makes it easier for us to communicate.  When he asks to do something (or for something) that just isn't appropriate (in a mother's eyes, anyway), we sit and talk - yes, we still argue -- but the communication level is easier then most I know.  And, according to what my friends have shared with me, I believe my son and I have a much more open relationship then most.  For that, I am greatful!

I share this with you, not only to show you how the littlest things can make a huge difference, but also to show you that you can start with something as small as a 2 letter word, and get (almost) instant and lasting positive effects. 

Start small and dream big.  No matter what you were programmed to do.

1 comment:

  1. Your mom is not all there obviously. You are though. I think you are saner and stronger than you thought. You mom laughed at you yet you stood by your idea of not using 'no'. And you proved to yourself it worked.