Why I’m Glad My Toddler Tells Me “No”

According to the experts, children between the ages of 12 and 24 months experience great leaps in their vocabularies and talking ability. My daughter is living proof. At 17 months she is collecting words like crazy.

Mama. Dada. Go. Baby. See. Thanks. Sit—which actually sounds like a curse word if she is drooling a lot. I celebrated each new addition, up until the day I tried to feed her broccoli and got a surprise. She is not a vegetable fan to begin with. On that fateful afternoon, she turned her head from the spoon and shouted “No!”

I went from shocked to impressed to annoyed. No continues to be one of her favorite words. No. I don’t want to eat that. No. I want to play with the other toy. No. I want to keep pressing the buttons on the phone.

Then it hit me. No might not be such a bad thing. For one, there is no more question as to whether or not she understands me when I tell her no. If she can dish it, she can take it.

Also, if my daughter tells me no, she can certainly use it on other people. Like another kid who wants to take her toy; or a stranger at the store who comes too close. That “no” may save her from a scrambled egg that doesn’t pass her smell test.

Kidpower, a nonprofit that teaches children to use their power to stay safe, encourages kids to say “no” to unwanted or inappropriate behavior using polite clear words, eye contact, and assertive body language. Kidpower also encourages parents to avoid forcing their child to show affection to others, among other strategies to keep children safe. Think well-meaning grandparent or friendly neighbor.

I’m not saying I want push back on every vegetable or naptime. What I do hope is that my daughter’s love affair with “no” is her start to becoming a confident, capable person.

What words are your kids using these days? What’s annoying? What makes you proud?

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About Nicole Robinson

Nicole Robinson is a Dallas-based freelance writer who specializes in college planning, parenting, women’s lifestyle, education, and self-help. But she's always hungry to munch on new topics. In addition to writing for The BookWormMama blog, Nicole provides content, copywriting and proofreading services for various publications.


Why I’m Glad My Toddler Tells Me “No” — 4 Comments

  1. Oh wow, I love this post. I never thought of kids using “no” as being a really positive thing, but I do agree with you! I think it can be good for them to assert themselves and become more confident. I don’t have any kids of my own, but I have a niece and so far…she’s not saying any CLEAR words, but I think it will happen soon. I’m sure “no” will be a favorite of hers too. 😉
    Lauren from http://www.shootingstarsmag.blogspot.com

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