Along the path to becoming better parents we came across Nicholeen Peck’s stuff, which is best summarized as “teaching self government” to kids.
The idea is to help kids understand how they can govern themselves, their actions, their emotions, etc. I’ve blogged about Nicholeen here and here.
One of the things she teaches us is how we can teach our kids to “accept a ‘NO’ answer.” That is, when they ask something, and we say no, they can respond by saying OK with (a) a calm face and (b) a calm voice and then (c) dropping the subject.
If you think about it, it’s a brilliant thing to learn (many adults need to learn this). Of course, they can “disagree appropriately,” also, so it’s not all about accepting our NO.
Usually when our 3 year old asks a question and we say NO, she is thrilled to say okay in that way. And then she immediately says “dad, I accepted a no answer with a calm face and a calm voice!” with the cutest smile and sense of pride you can imagine. It’s really cute.
A few days ago she said something equally cute… we also hope our kids make right decisions… even though nobody always makes right decisions we want them to know they can CHOOSE to make a good (or right) decision – they are empowered to make decisions that will impact the consequences.
The three year old was talking to my wife and said very simply, and with a very serious face:
“I choose the right, not the left“
It was good to hear her clarify that she had made a right decision, not a left decision :p