I encourage small children to say ‘no’ and be naughty. I find that when they get the “no’s” out of their system, they feel less of a need to act up later. And they’re more likely to listen when it matters. For the small or silly things, I dare them to defy me.
I hand Kubla a cookie. “Don’t you eat that dessert…Don’t do it!” I say as he gobbles it down.
I draw a line in the dirt. “Don’t step over this line.”
Kubla steps over the line.
I draw a new line in the dirt. “OK. Don’t step over this line!”
At dinner I dangle my hand in front of Kubla. “Don’t you tickle my wrist…Don’t do it.”
As he tickles my wrist, Kubla teases me back. “Can I please eat my vegetables?”
“No,” I say. “You have to eat candy first.”
“Well can I at least sit here quietly and keep my hands to myself?”
“No. I’d really appreciate it if you would bother your cousin.”
“Can I share my toys?”
“No. You have to keep them all to yourself.”
How do you take the power out of routine defiance?
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