June 2007 – Vol. IV, Issue 5
Feature Article: The Impact of “No”
I’ve noticed recently that as my youngest nears her second birthday, I hear myself saying “no” more and more. In fact, sometimes it’s “no, sweetie,” sometimes “NO!” and sometimes (breathlessly) “oh no, NO!” She provides us with a bit of a challenge, as she is a speedy child with natural curiosity. She also wants to do everything that her older sister does. And, just to provide you with a glimpse into her personality, my father calls her “Miss Destruction.”
The other thing that I’ve noticed is that on those days where I’ve been saying “no” over and over again, I feel pretty exasperated and she gets very, very cranky. On those days, she cries more than she’s happy, and I’m reminded of the parenting advice to “redirect, redirect, redirect.” The demoralizing effect of constantly hearing “no” all the time is pretty obvious in my usually sunny little toddler. In addition, my “no”s are so often accompanied by facial expressions and body language of stress, frustration or anger. How could I expect my child to be happy if that’s what she’s seeing from me?
It takes energy, and lots of creativity, to redirect. But when I do it and I’m successful at it, I feel like a hero and my daughter is a happy camper.
So what lessons can you find in this to apply to your own life? There are a few that I’ve thought of for mine:
Let’s alleviate our own stress by finding much more to say “yes” to. The people in your life will be extremely grateful, as will your own heart and mind.