I had the most interesting time helping out at kindy yesterday. For a few weeks now, I had been watching how the teachers worked with the kids, primarily at their conflict management skills.
The thing I have been curious about is why a teacher never says "no" or even "dont do that". And to me it seemed there were dramatic situations where it was called for - bullying, physical fighting, a child out of control...well it turns out that the teachers have actually been instructed that they cannot say no to any child (unless they are about to injure themselves or another child in that instance in time).
But that started me thinking - where do our children learn about limits?? How can they understand what behaviour is acceptable or unacceptable if they dont hear the word no? Obviously it should begin at home but what if they dont get that information at home?? What if there are no boundaries at home?? Or if the behaviour they see modelled at home is not quite friend inducing or agreeable to most in the big wide world??
I love this article about the gift of no....
"This gift of “no” teaches children they cannot have everything they want, when they want it. It says,” you must consider the environment and other people before you act.” It implies that many decisions are not up to children, and that sometimes children must do things they do not wish to do. “No” helps to keep children safe. And, most humbly, this gift gives children a realistic view of life by saying “you are not in charge of, or the center of, the world.” - The Wonder of Childhood
What about teaching a child refusal skills so that they feel confident and strong enough to make their own decisions as they get older...so they dont feel the need bend to peer pressure or bullying...so that they can feel confiding walking their own path.
What about the importance in understanding that sometimes there are boundaries or things that we cannot have or do and open up the experience of choosing alternatives in life.
I think no has its place and treated respectively and usefully can be a powerful teaching tool for children. As Nora Beane says here, "When children are taught how to respectfully say "no" to some options they learn the power of the word but also the right way to use it". I think is is important to speak intentionally with Little B and to show with as much love and care that my role is to be his parent and guide, first and foremost and then his friend.
It is my job to show him the boundaries, how to have manners and care for other people, to understand and care for the environment that we live in and share with others. That no is just as an important part of life as yes is!!