Excerpts from the Book
Power of No
Many parents these days try to “childproof” their homes when
they have children. My wife and I discussed that approach and
decided it was not right for us.
For those who are not familiar with the concept, childproofing means (in theory) making a house safe for babies and little ones to roam freely without coming to harm—or harming the house...
I strongly believe that there is a better way to make my child learn safety on his own. It is an active system that will always work and teach the baby to avoid such hazards and is much more natural than passively childproofing a house. Removing all potential dangers also removes chances for exploration, discovery, curiosity, and imagination. Those who childproof their homes tend to assume that children are incapable of even the most basic logical thinking. I want to trust that before Eden tries something new and dangerous, he will compare situations with those which he is already familiar and analyze his approach.
Therefore, my wife and I have decided to adopt an approach we call “The Power of No".
By this time, I’ve already grown accustomed to Eden and kind of
know his needs. In the last six weeks, I have come up with a
theory that I am going to be putting to the test. Though I
initially thought that I could fit Eden to my schedule, it’s
obvious to me now that the opposite is correct. My schedule has
to fit Eden and since I work from home, I need to adopt a new
strategy that will enable me to complete my tasks while taking
care of Eden while somehow maintaining my sanity.
This strategy calls for me to take care of Eden when he is awake and take care of business when he is asleep, eating, or playing alone. I try to focus on completing my work when Eden is asleep, but in order to do so, I need to make sure that he is sleeping regularly and for long periods of time. For this strategy to work, I need to figure out his internal sleeping rhythm and build my schedule around it.
To accomplish this goal, I came up with the "4N" theory. I’ve figured out that at this stage of his life, all Eden has are four basic needs. If I satisfy those, he’ll be happy, and of course, if he’s happy, I’m happy. Simple but effective.
Readjusting behavior is not about taking the easy road, it is
about standing up to reality, looking in its face, pointing a
finger at the problem and making a firm decision that a change
must be made. Since adjusting behavior is not easy, consistency,
repetition, and persistence are vital. Without them, there will
be no change.
I also learn that it is much easier to readjust a behavior sooner rather than later, before an errant behavior becomes a bad habit. I feel that I am better off suffering for several days while adjusting a behavior instead of letting such a behavior grow and spur other unacceptable behaviors over time.
But the most important lesson I learn from this experience is that I’ve finally completed the full transition to parenthood. I am capable of trusting my instincts about my son, and feel that I have what it takes to do what is right (for him and for me), not just what is easy.