Raising children often involves the use of the word “no.” It may be because they are about to do something that won’t cause pain, like splashing in a mud puddle. More of the time the word is used when something is harmful, either to the child or others.
We have two areas of concern. The methods my parents used to discipline us are no longer politically correct. In fact, it’s scary to try and discipline a child because someone, somewhere may think it’s abuse.
This creates the second problem. Children under the age of four don’t always understand why they can’t do something. If they’re anything like our grandchild, tears are involved and possibly a full blown temper fit. We can’t stop because of the sad little face. The danger is real.
Example 1: We have a rule in the house. No balls of any sort are allowed in the kitchen. Second to that rule is there will be no throwing of the ball in the house. Roll it or take it outside.
The kitchen is obvious. If I’m cooking, a could step backwards onto the ball and get hurt. So would anyone around me if I pulled a hot pan off and it spilled. This is a “no” that could hurt all of us. Often the kitchen is blocked off when I’m cooking as a form of prevention. That hasn’t stopped it, but a stern no and pointing a finger out of the room gets her attention.
Throwing the ball may not make sense in the physical pain area. A thrown ball is dangerous to most of the things in our living room and den. However, it could cause pain if one of the things knocked over hit a person. One warning and then the ball is confiscated for at least the rest of the day.
Example 2: While we try to keep harmful products where our granddaughter can’t get them, we are by no means thoroughly toddler proof. This is in part because she’s growing and a safe place last week isn’t so safe this week. If she gets something potentially dangerous we have to take it from her. She may also need to be told not to climb the shelves to get to whatever it was she wanted. We’re also going to have to invest in more “Mr. Yuk” stickers.
Example 3: This is an example I’m still trying to figure out how to handle. Toddlers are like quick silver and can get around even the most desperate grab for a hand. She has to learn to look before she crosses the parking lot. At the moment, it’s a game and it’s one I don’t like. Currently the solution is to carry her. She doesn’t like it, but again, it’s a “no” that could cause harm to both of us. Me trying to grab her and her if a car hits her.
There are thousands of reasons we have to employ that little word. There are millions of tears over the course of toddlerhood because we don’t give in. In the end, it’s worth the tears because it preserves life and prevents harm.