Before you read the title and crucify me for kids needing boundaries, let me explain. I'm not raising little heathens who run amok and do anything and everything their heart desires. We have boundaries, we have expectations, but I don't tell my kids "No." Occasionally it slips out, but for the most part, I don't tell them "No."
I think too often kids hear, "No, don't do that James," or "No, Sarah." That they hear "No," all day long and become oblivious to it. And just telling them "No," doesn't direct them to what they should be doing.
I may be shooting myself in the foot here, but I've decided not to tell my kids what not to do and what they should be doing instead. I find myself repeating, "Peanut, we sit down in the tub," 785678946329 times as I help him sit back down, but at least I feel like I'm telling him what he should be doing. He shouldn't be standing up in the bathtub and he should be sitting instead. We're trying to teach them not to touch the oven so instead we say, "Ouch, ouch, ouch!" The oven is hot!" as we pull them away.
I repeat, "Hands off!" more times that I can count each day, but I'm really hoping not to have kids who just ignore me because all I say is "No." They still test the boundaries, they are kids after all. Lovebug is really good at the hands off command whereas Peanut just laughs as we pull him away from the oven or dog food. But I'm really hoping that in the long run we can avoid some of the terrible two meltdowns because although they may not be able to communicate back to us very well, they understand what we'd like them to do.
We'll see how well this actually works, but with two boys to raise, I've thought long and hard about my parenting and it's all about raising socially acceptable children all the while avoiding two screaming, tantrum-throwing heathens in the long run. I know they will throw tantrums, I'm sure many times it will be at the same time, but by not telling them, "No," I'm hoping to avoid just a little of the craziness.