Monday, July 14, 2008

No Saying No

A few months ago at Liam's 15 month visit, I inquired as to how to discipline him at such a young age because he had already begun his foray into the cagefighting arena.

My pediatrician, a lovely, intelligent man whom I respect and admire very, very much, replied to me that a child of such a young age cannot really be disciplined. It is a parent's job to redirect and distract. He was very kind and understanding as he told me this.

That made sense and I was a little embarrassed that I was the psycho mean mother asking about cracking down on her poor little toddler. I guffawed and explained that he was basically beating the crap out of all of us but I would do my best to distract him and, essentially, suck it up and hope it passes sooner rather than later.

All the while, I am crying inside as I know we will never eat out of the house again. *sigh*

As the visit wrapped up, the doctor revisited my question about discipline, reminding me to distract Liam when he is doing something inappropriate. I vow to do this. Then, the doctor drops a bomb.

"You also shouldn't tell him no. At this age, he should not be told no because he is just testing boundaries, blah, blah, blah...."

Don't tell him NO!?

Let that sink in a minute.

Yes, you did read that correctly.

Okay, so I am not supposed to tell him no as he beats my eight year old down with the vacuum attachments? Or, when he is eating cat food? Or grabbing at the stove when it is ON?

I have to defend my pediatrician. He isn't a crackpot. I swear. He isn't touchy-feelly or new age-y either. In most cases, he is very old school: Karo syrup for constipation, potty trained by two, Cry-It-Out sleep training, etc.

But I digress....

So, I told RxMan what was said and after he stopped swearing and popped his eyes back in his head we decided to give this strategy a try.

For about 6 minutes.

It didn't work.


We have made an effort not to constantly shout loudly use this word and I think it has made the times that we do say "NO!" more effective but, to completely give up saying it?

No way, Dr. Jose.

It simply ain't gonna happen.

So, I decided that when Liam stops telling me "no" I will stop telling him the same.

What's the craziest thing a doc has told you to do??


Melissa said...


I've never had a Dr. say something so ludicrous to me, but if they did I wouldn't listen. I'd just nod and move on.

Of course he's testing his limits. Duh. That's why you have to tell him no, so that he learns where they are.


Karen of Sillymonkeez said...

My twins are just about 18 months old now and I've told them "no" for half their lives already. If they are testing boundaries, how will they know what the boundaries are if we don't tell them?

I can't really think of anything crazy that any of our pediatricians have told us. I'll come back and post it if I can remember anything.

MamaGeek said...

Again, I quote your alter-ego Amy Wine-O.

"NO, NO, NO"

My doc once told me not to worry SO MUCH.

Yeahhhh, riiiiight

Missy said...

That is crazy! Pooky is now 20 months, and he absolutley understands what "no" means - which is why we have to say it!
I am not sure what the alternative is, asides from letting your child run around like a wild banshee.


With four boys, I have had several pediatricians over the years, and I have yet to hear one of them tell me not to tell a child "no"...I agree with Melissa. Being a boy, he will test your limits, trust me on this...and unfortunately...he will continue to do so as he gets older. Hang in there, continue to be firm, yes...tell him no!

wright said...

WOW - no NO?!?!?! I don't think that's possible.

Dana said...

Uh no.

My 2 year old knows what no means but choose not to listen anyway. I have to physically go to him and distract him, somehow.

Head Gaggler said...

Really? I guess i suck as a parent too. I tell my youngest No all the time and you know what? She understands it. I think that's a silly statement.

Anglophile Football Fanatic said...

That's crazy talk. And, oddly, mine praised me for taking mine and spanking him at that age. And, she is young and a bit modern. odd.

Strangest? Told me at the 3 yr appt that mine had speech issues. Umm. NO.

Nap Warden said...

Wow...not saying no...impossible in this house!

Kellan said...

I've heard the distraction techniques, but not the "NO" to NO???

Hope you had a good day - Kellan

Kristi said...

They are going to be hearing the word the rest of their lives, I don;t think there's anything wrong with using it, as long as it id often followed with the word "but". "No, you can;'t do this but you can do this." Easier said than done, though.

Laura McIntyre said...

Um ok, so doctor really thinks you should just let the kid away with it all?

Oh i remember asking the same question for Eilidh around the same age and being told about the no disipline thing - i know they are young but what are you suppose to do?