Can you stop your child from doing some­thing you think is unsafe with­out using the word ‘no’?

Here are some ideas I’ve used:

Does your child show extra­or­di­nary curios­i­ty when you plug in the vac­u­um? (In your mind he is ‘trying to put his fin­gers in the sock­et­s’). Did it ever occur to you to allow your child to put the appli­ance plug in the sock­et for you instead of yelling “No, No” in a panic? 

As with every­thing, there are rules to be fol­lowed once per­mis­sion is giv­en to do some­thing oth­er­wise deemed ‘dangerous’ by the aver­age parent.

For instance, I allow small chil­dren to sit on the kitchen counter when we are work­ing togeth­er, bak­ing or prepar­ing lunch. 

MY RULES?: they must sit still, pay atten­tion to what I say and I must be beside them. 

There are no sec­ond chances that day if they dis­obey. I try again the next day and so on until they under­stand that with priv­i­leges come rules.

Most par­ents wouldn’t even think of it due to safe­ty factors.

The whole point is that if par­ents are real­ly respon­si­ble there are lots of things a child can do that might oth­er­wise be deemed ‘dangerous’ or elic­it the pan­icked “No!”

Don’t we cross the road with our chil­dren? I sup­pose some peo­ple still do, if so there are strict rules to be obeyed to remain safe. 

Par­ents who haven’t ini­ti­at­ed the habit of strict rules for safe­ty are usu­al­ly those whose chil­dren sud­den­ly dash across the road! 

We get in the car with our chil­dren – more rules. You do insist on your child being buck­led into his car seat don’t you? 

A child is allowed in the swim­ming pool, but only with adult super­vi­sion right? You know what often hap­pens when a young child gets into the pool by himself. 

And so go the rules to keep us all safe.

Those chil­dren who have an inor­di­nate curios­i­ty about any­thing and every­thing (that’s the major­i­ty in case you haven’t noticed – the ‘good/easy’ child isn’t real­ly good for him or her­self, just for the par­ents) need to be allowed to explore that curios­i­ty, well super­vised by a parent!

A wise friend of mine always talks about one of her sons who dis­man­tled the toast­er on the kitchen table – it wasn’t plugged in of course, her com­mon sense told her that! But he has gone on to be a bril­liant and suc­cess­ful com­put­er person.

My youngest son learned from a friend very ear­ly on how to strip down a lawn­mow­er engine – he made his first $20 when he was about 8 years old and sold sev­er­al old lawn­mow­ers! His log­i­cal approach to life is right on tar­get as an adult.

Both of these guys were super­vised by a parent.

When I care for chil­dren and they want to line up their toys or puz­zle pieces across the liv­ing room floor I allow them to do that. But they are told very ear­ly on that every­thing will have to be picked up before their par­ents come home. They know they can do it with me day after day. We all pick up the toys togeth­er to make the place ‘tidy for the parents’.

If a child is accus­tomed to only tak­ing a walk in one direc­tion (that means you, the par­ent, take the easy way out and fol­low your child’s direc­tives!) and pulls a tantrum when you want to go anoth­er way – it’s not com­pli­cat­ed. You just have to con­vince them before you leave the house that there is some­thing more inter­est­ing in the oth­er direction. 

“Shall we go along the nar­row path for a change?”, “Let’s find the canal where all the ducks are”, “Shall we count yel­low fire hydrants and stop signs on our walk today?”.

I think par­ents of chil­dren with autism are unbe­liev­ably pas­sive and help­less with their children. 

I’ve start­ed to notice it in the books par­ents amaz­ing­ly often have time to write about life with their autis­tic child(!), par­ents of chil­dren with devel­op­men­tal delays I’ve known in per­son, and just yes­ter­day I read the blog of a lady who con­fessed that she and her hus­band sel­dom spoke to their child when he/she was an infant and toddler!! 

NOW she’s con­cerned that the child might have autism!!!!!

Notice that she has time to blog about her child’s con­di­tion and ‘talk’ on the web!!

Take charge of your chil­dren, start find­ing alter­na­tives to ‘no’ and start brack­et­ing your child’s life in an author­i­ta­tive way.

Act as though you’re the parent!!