Yes, I’m Teaching My Son the Power of “No”

15 months.

My son Jack understands a direct, calm-assertive “no” from me, which is much different from an unsure, half-panicked “n-n-n-n-n-no, no, no, no!

The difference is best illustrated by the way a period puts a solid end to a sentence, but if you add two more periods, making ellipsis points, the end to the sentence is suspended.

When I teach my son not to do something, I want the message to be conveyed with a period, not the equivalent of dot-dot-dot.

This past weekend my parents, my sister, her husband and their daughter came up for a visit and to watch Jack.

My wife and I had won a free stay at the Hutton Hotel in downtown Nashville. When we returned, my sister updated me how things went with Jack:

“He taught me everything in the house that he can’t touch. That includes the cords behind the TV, the blinds, and the flusher handle on the toilet.”

Jack even warned my mom with a “no” when she sat too close to the sliding glass door which I have taught him not to bang his toys against.

Now while I may be making myself out to be a Negative Ned with all this “no” training on my son, it’s important to note that I actually balance it with the power of “yes.”

When Jack makes proper decisions regarding the boundaries I set for him, he gets a “yes” from me along with a nodding head of approval.

He craves to know what the boundaries are. He loves learning what the “yes’s ” and “no’s” are in our house. And obviously, he also enjoys sharing what he has learned with others who visit.

Jack has taken on the responsibility of proclaiming boundaries to others. I like that. It makes me feeling that I’m doing something right.

Admittedly, I can’t help but think about what the future version of this looks like. As Jack gets older, how will his concept of “yes” and “no” guide him in his decision making abilities?

Will Jack continue to help others know the boundaries when it comes to all the good and bad decisions to be made?

I say “yes.”

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