One Word No Parents Should Ever Overuse
By Thoa Tran on November 15, 2012
Are you one of those parents who like to say "No" each time your child asks for something that is outside your comfort zone or what you deem acceptable?
This habit of saying "No" not only strains your relationship with your child, it can become a potential hazard for her.
And what do I mean by this?
In order for me to fully explain it to you, I need to give you a virtual tour of my room.
In my room there is a very loud humidifier. It mimics the white noise that newborns find very comforting but I find so annoying. But after four years of having it, I no longer hear it.
It got to the point where one day, while my baby was sleeping upstairs, I turned on the baby monitor downstairs, and it was unusually quiet. I thought it was not working, so I spent a good five minutes trying to fix it to no avail. When I came upstairs to see what was wrong, I discovered that my toddler had turned off the humidifier without my knowledge.
I've become so accustomed to the loud noise that when it's not playing through the monitor, I thought the monitor itself is not working!
And what can we draw from this?
There's an actual evolutionary mechanism behind my gradual "deafness" to the humidifier.
In order to survive and adapt to our surroundings, humans and many species quickly learn to ignore the stimuli that is consistently in contact with us within a given time. This makes sense when you really think about it.
Imagine a deer standing in a mist of trees, and a leaf is poking at it. The deer will initially feel itchy, but soon enough it will no longer feel the itch. This lack of feeling allows the deer to be aware of other more pressing matters, like when a predator comes.
So how does this apply to you as a mom who likes to say "No"?
Well since "No" is your only answer, then overtime your child will learn to shut off your response completely--This is her way of surviving and adapting to the restraint.
Your "No" will mean very little to her and she may one day stop asking for permission altogether. In this worse case scenerio, you have loss your influence over your child.
And when the word "No" finally matters--when it means saving and preventing your child from a dangerous behaviour--there is nothing you can do--Because your child, now your teen, is no longer within your control.
So please--use that word sparingly.
Instead of saying "No," ask "Why". This is a great habit to pick up.
It encourages your child to express her emotions. It shows her that she is an active participant of society, that she has the right to question, filter and criticize the information she has been given. It teaches her to respect but not be afraid of authorities. And most importantly, it gives you the chance to become a better listener, a more compassionate mother and person.
And if you and your child can benefit greatly from this new way of responding, my question is, "Why not?"
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