Overriding the “no”‘s

I felt justified over-riding one of the children’s “no”‘s because everytime I did, she took great joy in doing the work.

So, when I was about to post a question on my favourite yahoo group on the issue of not imposing our will on children, from that perspective, it dawned on me what I should be doing.

1) allow children to say no most of the time. Why? They need to know that life is not about being controlled by somebody, whether an adult, a higher authority or a peer. They need to feel safe from domination. SO easier said than done. Someone not from a Montessori background will say – that’ll create a group of spoilt brats. So, therein lies the difference. The Montessori method respects the child’s ability to say no with great big BUTs. (freedom within limits) So I really should have let that child say no. (Of course, this rule does not apply where danger is involved)

2) If I can’t allow the child say no (eg due to some complex reasons involving time constraints) – then what? Well, take a breath… and try your best to let the child say no. Of course, as they are at the age of reason – you could tell them your reason why it has to be now – and if they bite, good. But if not, graciously accept it.

3) I should plan my work better. I should use some tools such as:

i) observing them more closely to see if there really could have been a better time to give that presentation
ii) try to create a habit where they are used to getting presentations at a certain time of the day so that they feel comfortable and know that other than that specific time, they can get on with what they want to do. Sort of like practising a routine so that they know what to expect.
iii) obviously have a better work plan and tracking system.
iv) spend more time working on exciting the children. Can’t remember, but didn’t Montessori use the word “seduce”?
If children say no, perhaps there’s also a way of asking or enticing them to a work I have not tried.

Funny it took me the time to write the question to actually figure all this out.

And I still have so much more to learn.


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