L has been crawling for almost a month now, and she's getting really agile -- not that we can't catch her easily, but she makes a break for it pretty often (usually in search of computer cords, the bathroom, or our shoes). The baby development books I've read all seem to say that babies can start to understand the word "no" right about now -- but should I use it?
We have a family friend who insisted that "no" was a forbidden word in her house -- or anyone's house where her children happened to be. "It will break their spirit," she claimed. Instead, we were all required to redirect them towards more appropriate behavior. I know someone else who felt that redirecting wasn't even necessary (except perhaps in the direst of circumstances) -- children "need to learn for themselves" when it comes to things that are hot, sharp, or otherwise dangerous.
On the other side of things, in Secrets of the Baby Whisperer, Tracy Hogg pooh poohs parents who take all breakables and valuables off shelves and put them away for years until their babies are old enough not to grab and destroy (meaning...10? 25?), saying instead that you should simply teach your baby what "no" means early on and they will learn what's off limits and what isn't. Parents are in charge, she intones -- you need to establish that lesson as early as possible.
I guess I'm finding myself falling into the "trust but verify"-equivalent parenting camp. Just because a baby knows "no" doesn't mean she abides by it. Plus, do you really want to risk it? I'm all for letting L explore to her little heart's content -- I follow her around the house as she snoops into corners, picks up rugs to find out what's underneath, strains to reach things on the coffeetable, and reaches under the bed to grab at
What are your thoughts on saying "no" to your child -- and where do you draw the line?