Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Power of 'No'

(Reposted from Kris' blog.)

First off, here's a darling video, put together by the talented Ms. IBIE, of Edie crawling. She just started crawling this weekend:

Edie Crawls from Britta Trygstad on Vimeo.

Now, that's all cute and good. I'm ecstatic for Edie's new abilities and proud of her for catching on with the crawling thing so quickly. I particularly love seeing the look on her face as she explores her environment under her own power.

But this weekend, as she went from proto-crawling to full-fledged crawling, I moved into a new parenting phase. I'll call it the "no" phase. As she found new places to crawl and began interacting with our stuff, I found myself going into the Magic Bag of Parenting Tricks and pulling out "no." "No" to grabbing at lamp cords or the laptop cord, "no" to tearing apart my "Baseball Encyclopedia," "no" to lots of other things.

I'd never said "no" to Edie before this past weekend, at least not consciously. Sure, she'd done things that she shouldn't have been (like pulling on my hair), but I never said "no." Now, I feel like I have to start using "no" as a way to establish boundaries. She needs to start learning that there are consequences to her actions. Look at me: the authoritarian. I've become everything I hate.

To my credit, I'm trying to be positive with my nos (cognitive dissonance, anyone?), remaining firm while conveying understanding. The goal moving forward is to keep reminding myself to back up the "no" with a rationale, even if those points are lost on her (they soon won't be). It can turn into a nasty habit to just say "no" and leave it at that, so I'm going to keep trying to slip bits of reasoning into the mix, if only so Edie knows that every "no" has a "why."

The flip side to seeing a new person flex their wings for the first time is knowing that they'll have to make the same mistakes and resign themselves the same limitations that the rest of us have. Hopefully, with a calm and rational approach, we'll be able to raise a child that knows exactly what all those nos mean.

1 comment:

  1. One way to use "positive parenting" that I love is after you let her know what is not ok, tell her what she should do instead. Good example: pulling on hair- tell her "gentle" or "soft" and model the behavior.