I’m sure most of you will be aware of the phrase ‘no means no’ when it comes to sex education. It teaches our kids that when they say no, it means no.
As parents we inevitably hear the word ‘no’ over and over again. My toddler is pretty adept at knowing what he wants and making it incredibly clear. There are times when he says no and I have to explain to him that although I know he doesn’t want to do something, he is going to have to, e.g. having his nappy changed or being strapped into his car seat.
But, when it comes to his body, I always honour his ‘no’. If I go to cuddle or kiss him and he says no, that’s fine. It’s his body and it’s his choice.
As someone who is quite selective about personal touch and not a ‘hugger’, I do not always want to be touched. If someone tried to touch me after I said no then I would react pretty strongly.
In marriage this can be hard. Sometimes, one of us wants physical touch and the other doesn’t. It’s so important that when we’ve been told no that we respect that choice. Communicating well is so important in this and choosing not to take a no personally.
And, with a toddler there will also be times where your kid may mean yes when they say no. For example, when you’re tickling them and they’re shouting ‘no, no, no!’ so you stop and they look devastated!
But, there are many times when our kids will say no and we will have to make a choice about our response.
When my kid says no and I want to hug or kiss him anyway I think it’s important to ask myself who the physical touch is for? Sometimes, yes I may need a hug and actually my kid often senses this already. When he’s older we’ll be able to talk about it but instead for now I can ask my husband or a friend.
We use a stop hand sign with our kid when we’re asking him to stop unwanted behaviour, such as putting his hand in a plug socket! He has started to use this sign to ask people to stop physical behaviour which he doesn’t like. It makes me feel so proud of him when I see him make a choice to respond calmly with a no (when it comes to us we get bites instead, his friends are far more fortunate!) But, sometimes his no isn’t heard.
What do I do if his friends try to hug him, he says no but they carry on? What do I do when their parent says, “oh, it’s ok, he’s only trying to give him a cuddle?”
My kid’s no still means no even if it offends someone.
What do I do when I want to kiss my kid goodbye or goodnight but he says no?
My kid’s no still means no even when I’d like a kiss.
How do I respect his body?
How do I prove to him everyday that his no means no?