The following is a guest post by Melissa as SOS MOM.
“No”…. such a little word, such a powerful word.
A word that carries strength, respect and authority.
All in one little bite-size package.
We use it so often that we forget how much impact it can have… especially on a child.
It puts them to the test, challenges them…
They will test your limits whenever that word resonates in their ears.
Push your buttons with it.
Toy with your patience if they can… and they know they can!
Very feasible too, that they will throw a tantrum (those are especially pleasant in public!) as a protest… Being held back from accomplishing what they had started is not making them a happy camper.
They undoubtedly know the meaning of the word “no”.
After all, it doesn’t take much of a rocket scientist to figure it out… it is a word that carries loads of significance.
It nearly makes you wonder if they are born prepared for it, for THE word.
Perhaps our uterus gives them a crash course called “How to deal smartly and efficiently with the “no” word”… seeing that they seem to master it pretty admirably from such an early age.
But alright, all joking aside, our facial expression kind of give it away when we utter the word… putting on our pokerface!
Yet, we are somewhat obliged to keep a straight face, if not so, we would fall short of all credibility.
Hence, a catch 22…
A dead end.
We are regrettably limited in our options here.
So, clever as we are, us parents, we find a way around this conundrum.
We come up with other ways of saying the you-know-what word. Ways that ultimately have the same meaning as the infamous word but that doesn’t come across as a defiance to our children.
Things such as “That’s not a good idea.”, “Oh! Yucky!”, “That’s a boo-boo!”, “Let’s leave that alone.”… and the list goes on…
All of these, expressed along with more or less of a relaxed demeanour, reminding ourselves to keep that rather convincing face on.
It doesn’t take very long before they catch on to us… Oh they do figure us out!
Smart little monkeys!
So, back to square one?
Maybe, maybe not.
It all depends on what usage we make of the word.
Evidently, a child will eventually be saturated with the “N” word if it is reiterated incessantly.
It will not only lose its effectiveness, but it will create frustration, confusion and rebellion.
Children are meant to explore, discover and experiment.
Being told “no” again and again will only make them lose their sense of direction and put them in a situation of uneasiness… bringing on a loss in their self-assureness.
That is why is it important to try to give an explanation to the word itself. Make your child understand what the outcome of his actions will be, thus the reason for the “no”.
Every so often, for the sake of our “good guy” image, we will solicit our spouse’s help… make him look like the “bad guy”!
I mean, do we want to be solely associated to the “no”… ?? Be the kill joy??
I think not.
So we get the chance to get away with it once in a while… better than nothing!
Though how is it that a “mommy no” is incomparable to a “daddy no”?
It appears that one is more intimidating than the other… can you guess which one?
It’s a no brainer… daddies score on this one!
Could it be the big voice? I bet it is!
In any case, it is not of importance who has the biggest voice, or who has the most discipline.
In a nutshell, it’s about educating your kid.
To be entirely truthful, I never thought my authority could be challenged to this extent.
Up until I practically got laughed at right in the face when I articulated the “no” word.
I was the winner of a “HA! You mean this is “no”??!! (while still slowly reaching for the forbidden fruit again)” look… virtually questioning what I was going to do about it!
I could barely believe it… my son-1, myself-0.
Right then and there I knew what was ahead of me, what I was in for.
Yet, it didn’t frighten me or awaken any distress inside.
I acknowledge that it was all part of the responsibility I engaged in by becoming a parent… a mother.
And so I attempt, every day, to teach my son the meaning of “no”.
If he comes across something that will bring him face to face with a rejection, I offer him an alternative.
And if the situation really calls upon pronouncing “no”, I therefore break down, in a gentle way, my “no”… alike a song to his ears.
It does not always come easy. It comes with its loads of turn-downs and frustration.
But aren’t the end results going to be so gratifying?
So after all, it is most likely that the “no” word does possess power… magic powers…