It was a wonderful day a week or so ago when Bethel learned to say “No.” David asked her a question at the dinner table, and she answered “no.” David’s response showed her that she had indeed communicated exactly what she wanted, and her instant delight was apparent.
It’s a communication milestone. Now I can help her say “no” to David when he does something she doesn’t like (instead of screaming). Now she is able to more clearly communicate what she wants (instead of crying when I don’t understand her gibberish). “No” also means “Oh, no!” when she drops something or something falls apart.
But what about the discipline issue? Isn’t learning to say no a bad thing? An evidence of rebellion? Sure, but the rebellion doesn’t start when she learns to say no. It’s just a new way to express herself. And she hasn’t learned that it’s not okay to say “No” when mommy asks her to do something. It’s clear she’s simply expressing her desire, not indicating rebellion. “No, I don’t really want to stop what I am doing.” And that’s okay– many times I don’t want to do right either. She’ll figure out that answering no when she’s asked to obey (indicating a refusal to obey) isn’t a good thing, but she has to be taught.