Sometimes I get caught up in thinking, "Why does my child say 'no' all the time? To almost everything?!" A huge part of it is simply their innate desire to show they are individuals, that they aren’t robots doing everything that big people tell them to do. They have their own preferences and feelings and desires just like we do. Not to mention, their brains still have a lot of developing to do. So that’s why we are here! To help them grow, both physically and emotionally.
And how many of us like to be told what to do all day long? Not me!
Also, a good reminder is, do we model the “no” behavior to them? Do we encourage our children to say “no” to us all the time because WE say “no” to THEM all the time? “No, you can’t climb on that.” “NO, you can’t play with that, that’s not a toy.” “No, you can’t watch a movie right now.” “No you can’t use the knife.” “No, i’m not able to play Leggos with you right now because I’m busy at the moment.” "NO, you can't build a rocket launcher🚀out of cardboard, lighter fluid and baking soda.🤔" The list goes on.
Obviously, we can’t say “yes” to everything. Like, “NO, you can’t jump out the window” is a GOOD thing to say no to. And learning that it’s a normal part of life that you don’t get instant gratification in everything, is an important lesson for our children. AND "no" is a good thing when they are standing up for themselves/respecting boundaries.
But what if we tried to say “yes” more often? I think my children feel more loved when I do this! Because by responding to them in a positive way helps them feel like their voice is heard and that we care about their opinions. For example, when Elvis showed interested in helping in the kitchen and wanted to use a knife to cut vegetables, instead of me saying “no”, I explained to him how sharp this knife is and that it could potentially slice a little finger off, and we don’t want that! So instead, let’s go order you some nylon kid knives so you can do your own chopping with a kid-safe knife! By me caring about his interests in doing big people things, he felt loved. And in return, he showed me more love! It’s a symbiotic relationship and how beautiful is that!