The Other "N" Word
I’m one of those people who have very little recollection of being a young kid. Sure there are some events that I can recall, but I’m convinced this is mainly because the stories have been regaled over and over throughout the years.
Because of this, I have no memory of how much my parents did or did not say “no” to me as a kid, but I have a feeling they weren't keeping track. Times have changed, and apparently today, using the “N” word with your kids is a major issue for some parents. I believe this may be because they don’t want their kids saying "no" back to them.
I remember reading in one of my parenting books that instead of saying no, you should explain to your 2 year old why they shouldn’t touch the hot stove. Really??! They are going to immediately remove their hand, sit down and have a discussion with you? I don’t think so. Believe it or not, there are quite a few schools where I live that have basically outlawed the word. Teachers and students are not allowed to utter it while at school.
I’m a firm believer that kids need to hear the word “no” from the beginning. It’s part of life, why should they grow up thinking no one will ever tell them no. Imagine how devastated they will be when the teacher tells them “no, you cannot throw rocks in the schoolyard”, or when they apply for their first job, and the boss has to say “no, we’re not hiring you, we decided to go with someone else.”
That being said, I do believe that there are circumstances where having a conversation instead can be very helpful and educational. And honestly, I have to catch myself sometimes as it can be the first word I blurt out when dealing with my 4 year olds' never ending, sometimes preposterous requests.
As my kids get older and start asking for everything, and I mean EVERYTHING, the word has begun to creep into my non-kid life, which is not ideal. Like so much in life, and parenting, we learn as we go and moderation is key. While I still say no to my kids, I've also learned to stop myself and wonder if there’s a better response. Sometimes there is, and sometimes, they get a “no”.
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