Ok, like other Step One graduates, you regularly ask for what you want.

This step is called The Terrible Twos but kids might start saying "No!" months before their second birthdays. Ma and Pa Nature did something more in kids' brains and they leave no doubt that they are becoming their own people. Some parents say their two-year-olds inspire thoughts of murder.

I once described this step to a man I knew from work and he replied, "I didn't let my daughter say 'No.'" Too surprised for words, I said nothing.

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The "No" stage is a wonderful one. It is normal and natural and to be endured by loving parents and child care workers. In my upbringing and in so many other little boys and girls, grown ups try to teach obedience at this stage and in the long-term, being obedient is not a good skill to have. Too many of us get caught under the thumbs and boots of dominators and we don't know how to begin to think for ourselves. I often see little ones look to their parents or authority figures for direction when they could, should, and ought to look inward for internal wisdom. Looking inward is a natural behavior and too many receive training to obey. Parents who behave in immature ways reject the "No" stage of human development. 

My great-granddaughter is in the "What's that" stage now. She is trying to find words for her experiences and she needs to have that stage in order to develop her vocabulary.  I love it. Her Mom and Dad are not so sanguine about it. 

Joan, do you know if two year olds say "No" to everyone or only to parents?

I remember changing my sister's and brother's diapers earlier. I remember too once dropping my brother on his head while changing his. I don't remember hearing either of them say no to me, as if they didn't need to individuate from me.

That's interesting. I went on the hunt to see if there has been research on how babies individuate themselves from parents and siblings. Found nothing of substance, found some opinions. That is an intesting thought and one I want to pursue. 

Joan, I heard the term "individuation" in the child care course I took four decades ago.

Babies DO NOT individuate by obeying, though you will not easily design the research that will tell you their motives.

While I was designing these steps I talked with people who'd raised children. One man told me he didn't let his baby daughter say "No."

I was too surprised to reply. Weeks later I asked him for details and he refused to answer. I concluded that he realized what he'd told me.



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