Sunday, November 29, 2009

Mommy says "No"

"No, no, no." "Mommy, says no." "What does Mommy say? - that's right --- No No No." "That can hurt you. Mommy doesn't want you to get hurt." "Put that down." "That's not for you." That's Mommy's keyboard and mouse." "No, no, no - that's hot!" "Ooooh, no, no -- Max's food is yucky."

Throw in a few hundred 'I love you's and 'are you hungry's and 'let's go change your diaper's and you have a pretty good run down of my daily utterances. (Oh - and "Dear God, please help." and "Hail Mary, full of grace..." come up fairly often, too.)

Some days when it seems like "no" comes out of my mouth more than any other word I fear that I'm being too negative. I re-direct. I re-word my command/request/sugguestion. I use "stop" instead of "no" in some cases. I save my stern tone for more serious situations (or try to, anyway.) But there's really no getting around the word, "no." I spit mouthfuls of them out daily.

Some of my mom friends and I were chatting about this subject not long ago and one mentioned that she heard that 90% of what toddlers should be hearing at this stage is "no." Whew. That relieved a little guilt - and hey, by those standards I ought to be considered a stellar Mom.

Strong willed, loving to push the envelope, uber-curious, sharp as a tack and cute as a button - together make for the perfect storm when trying to train a child.

Meet our little storm:

My husband and I figured out early on in the game, the raising our voices in order to control or correct our small child's behavior was, in our case, lazy parenting. There are certainly instances where a raised voice is not only appropriate, but necessary. But I've been in way too many households where yelling was the primary volume...and we just don't want to live like that.

People I see often say, "Oh, I bet she's so spoiled." -- which I'm ashamed to admit, offends me. If they're asking me: "Does my child get an abundance of love? Is she is showered with affection and attention?" Then, you better believe she's spoiled. And I've got no guilt about that. But sometimes I have a feeling the 'commenter' is not always wondering those things. I suspect they are assuming that my munchkin is the center of our universe and gets whatever she wants and has complete control of our household. In that case, absolutely not. Both my husband and I are on the same page (thank heavens) when it comes to this subject. I'm a fun and loving mom, but I'm tough...not in a mean way - but in a 'training my child' sort of way.

I don't want to give the impression that Gianna is "difficult." Overall, she's pleasant, delightful and oh-so much fun.

I just think she's asserting her independence a little on the early side which will hopefully sharpen our parenting skills for the years ahead.

All that to say, that's it's rough navigating the waters of parenting and child-training - trying to figure out what is best for each individual child. I found some resources regarding the subject, and I thought I'd share with anyone interested.

Have you heard of Dr Sears? He's a pediatrician, father of 8, author and parenting authority. He's on the conservative side and seams fairly balanced. There's an article on his site called, 18 Ways to Say "No" Positively?
The Baby Center has an article called The Discipline Tool Kit: Strategies for Every Age. There are some helpful reminders there.

Also, there is a recent article from TIME magazine about "The Growing Backlash against Overparenting." A refreshing perspective in response to some of the pressures of society to raise "super-kids."


  1. Great post. Bella, my first, was our tornado. I felt very challenged by her. Not so much in a bad way, but I had to hone in on my parenting skills because she wasn't easy. She's head strong, spirited, independent - she was this way from the moment she came out.

    When people comment that Bella is spoiled, I politely tell them, 'She isn't spoiled. She's loved and blessed.'

    I've read some of Dr. Sears books. I'm going to go check out the article you posted!

    Thanks for the info!

  2. Thanks so much for the links in this article. I really liked the 18 ways one. Camden is also at that age where I'm constantly having to tell him No, and it gets frustrating. This definitely helps!
    Your description of Gianna matches Camden perfectly! He is so curious, always testing the waters to see what he can get away with, and starting to show signs of defiance! Oh what a handful!

  3. I know I am late in reading this, but it is the perfect timing for me. I have had so many doubts and fears lately about my parenting skills when it comes to my three-year-old. I am so worried we are just too hard on him. I see, however, that it can be a common fear among parents with children this age. Thanks for the links, Maria!


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