Magazine article USA TODAY

Teaching Kids What "No" Really Means

Magazine article USA TODAY

Teaching Kids What "No" Really Means

Article excerpt

Many physicians feel it is not desirable to be completely permissive with young children and that some rules are necessary for healthy emotional development. On the other hand, it can be very frustrating and bewildering to youngsters when demands are made upon them that they can not understand.

Many mothers have the mistaken idea that when they forbid a one-year-old to touch an ash tray or vase by saying, "No, no," the child understands. Often, the toddler will touch the forbidden object and, looking at the mother, say, "No, no." This is not willful disobedience. The child simply may think that "no, no" is the name of the object. Frequently, the strict tone indicates to the youngster that the mother has negative feelings. The toddler is not at all ready to understand that he or she is being told not to touch the object, according to experts at Alliant Health System, Louisville, Ky.

When beginning to place restrictions upon where a youngster goes and what he or she can touch, the do's and don'ts should be considered in terms of the child's safety, rather than the parent's convenience. Give only a few instructions at a time, in order to avoid confusion. For instance, start with impressing upon the child the importance of not sticking metal objects into electric light sockets, chewing on electric cords, and running into the street. …

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