Right now, “no” is her favorite word. Isn’t it every toddler’s favorite word? We chuckle when they say no all the time, we get frustrated because they might not always mean it when they say it, and we have to encourage or them into doing certain things, not because they don’t want to, but because they like the activity or the food once they take the moment to try it. However, isn’t there something to be encouraged when it comes to the word no?
I want it to be her favorite word right now. Why? Because she is learning how to stand up for herself, stand against what she does not want or is not comfortable with, and to be confident in standing her ground. I don’t want to shut that word down when she says it. I want to understand why she is saying no, what is she feeling when she says it. She isn’t always able to vocalize those feelings, but we mommas know our babies, right? We can feel their feelings, we can read their behaviors and actions, and that is how we learn the reason behind their adamant no.
One day, that “no” is going to matter.
I pray it is not in a moment of danger, but when she sees someone being mistreated, when she sees injustice, when she is being asked to do something against her beliefs—I want her to be confident and comfortable in saying that two-letter word. I want her to say it with a tone of power and sternness. I want her to say it so confidently that people hesitate to question her. I want people to know when she says something, especially the word no, she means it and she is to be respected for it.
So when I ask her a question and no is her reply, I respect that answer and tell her she is entitled to that feeling and answer. Sometimes when I might not understand her no, I take the time to figure out why she answered that way or what she is hesitant about that would make her give that answer. Regardless of the why, I respect her answer even if she is only two years old.
Seeing that her parents respect her when she tells us that two-letter word, gives her more confidence in saying it in the future instead of saying yes when she isn’t comfortable, or shyly complying, or pretending to be willing when she doesn’t feel right about the situation.
She deserves that opportunity and respect because that is what will empower her to take a stand as she matures and grows.
Isn’t that what all of us mommas want, to raise an independent, strong, and empowered woman? I know I do. I want my daughter to believe in herself and to believe in others enough so she can be their voice if they don’t feel like they have their own. I want her to feel empowered by her emotions, to know it is OK to feel such feelings that urge her to say no. I don’t want her to ever feel like those emotions need to be stifled.
And that all starts in these toddler years when “no” is her favorite word.