“Xai, do you want to play with the colors?” “NO”
“Are you sure?” “NO, NO” (double no – yes, I am sure, it is a no )
Okay. I respect it.
“Xai, come and brush your teeth with mamma” “NO”
So I let go. I don’t force her. I don’t shout at her. I let go. I take my tooth brush and start brushing my teeth near her, making funny noises. She giggles and grabs her toothbrush.
I listen to her. Her “NO” matters. She has her own will, and that counts. She is only 2 years old…. but she is already a person. Don’t shake your head at me yet (I see you!) If she keeps on doing something that endangers her, her sister or someone near her or the environment/things, I will prevent it. I will stop it. If there is something that is REALLY REALLY important her “No” will become a second priority ; for example “give me your hand when we cross the road”, she can protest “no” until tomorrow, I will take that hand! But children are smarter than you think. They know when you try to defend them from real danger, or when you just disregard their “no” for essentially unimportant reasons. She will protest, but will understand , I hope, it is up to you as an adult to decide when it is “not-that-of -an -important –war- to- win”.
So why is it so important?
Your little girl will grow up and eventually start socialising and meeting boys and then …guys She needs to know, on a subconscious level, that her “NO” has to be respected. It was always respected, and someone who loves her and cares about her will respect it. If she arrives (GOD FORBID) in a situation where someone is disrespecting her “no” in a sexual way, or trying to manipulate or convince her, there will be no room for doubt and no time for thinking. NO is NO and it should be enough. Provoking that will align to danger, which will switch on defensive mechanisms, keep her aware, alert and if necessary ready to act. She won’t wait for things to get too ugly to get away.
Hopefully she will never ever be in that situation, in any case respecting your child and what he/she says, giving them the freedom to think, feel, express and be themselves, will help them grow up into the individuals they were “meant to be”, independent thinkers, opinionated, leaders, individual beings.
And, as much as you respect their “no”s, you should respect their “YES!”s even more