Okay, I will be the first to admit that it is not always easy to find the silver lining when all you are feeling is frustration. When your child just won’t do what you have told them to, or even openly defies you, telling you “No!” and all you want to do is scream, it is not easy to think positively. As frustrating as these times can be, there is a positive.
Right around 18 months old is when most children learn the word ‘No’ and shortly thereafter, they decide that they love it, and don’t ever truly stop saying it. They get older, and grow out of saying it reflexively, but they also get better at expressing their unwillingness to cooperate in other ways, like my eight year old who will sometimes just walk away, roll his eyes, or sigh heavily. I haven’t gotten there yet, but I have a feeling that the teenage years will be even more trying.
The next time your child tells you “No,” try to remember that it can have good implications as well. The child who is able to tell their parents No, is also able to other authority figures No. While not always a good thing, it is good if they are being told to do something bad or unsafe. A child needs to be able to tell someone “no” if they are being told to get in a car with a stranger, for example.
So, the next time all you want to do is hide from your precious little naysayer, just remember that at least they are learning some tools that can lead to their safety… from strangers, if not from you!