Correct response to the word ‘no’

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Saturday, July 26, 2014

Dear Cindy,

I’M a single mom to a toddler, a two and a half year old boy. I’ve been training him to understand the word “no” since he started walking, climbing the stairs, hopping and jumping on furniture. It seems he doesn’t fully understand what it means.

I often felt frustrated and angry when he doesn’t obey my commands. Sometimes I spank him or shout at him because of my anger. But I always feel guilty afterwards. I know it would have negative effects on him. What is the best way to get him to respond correctly to “no”?



Dear Christine,

It’s good you are aware that your way of disciplining your son is harsh and it this will eventually have ill effects on him.

As a toddler, it is normal for your son to become curious about a lot of things. Having discovered that he can do many things by himself, he begins to explore on his own. This makes you worry because he might just harm himself by doing so. Hence, your reaction is to say “no.”

Understandably, parents would like to protect their little ones from potential dangers. A toddler, however, may not see it that way. When an adult tells him not to do something, he wants to explore all the more. He will insist on his growing independence. This is very frustrating to parents. I’m not saying that we should never say no. On the contrary, we do need to show toddlers in concrete ways what no means.

As early as possible, we should make them aware of the boundaries in behavior and the rules at home. But we should go for balance. That is, know when to say no and when to let go, and allow a certain amount of independence. Allow them to explore and sometimes commit mistakes (as long as these are not harmful) to help them develop their sense of right from wrong.
Christine, if you become overprotective, your son might not feel free to do anything even if he is much older. On the other hand, without appropriate limits, he might think that there are no boundaries to what he can do, which could lead to the danger of harming himself. So that you don’t say no often, clear the surroundings of obvious dangers. Inform other adults in the household so that you can reinforce this system. And instead of just saying no, demonstrate exactly what you want or don’t want your toddler to do.

God bless,

How to go about courting a teacher

Dear Dr. Dana,

I was only in my second year of high school when I met my teacher. I could tell that she was only in her 20s. She had the kindest face I’ve ever seen and I was instantly smitten.

By the way, at that time I was 18 at that time because I was late in continuing my education due of poverty. It was only when my uncle promised to shoulder my studies that I got to enroll in high school.

Because of my feelings for my teacher, I was inspired and able to achieve high marks in school. But I realized she was someone way beyond me and I was conscious of the wide gap between us, not just our age. I was like a dog barking at the moon, at someone unattainable. I just poured out my feelings by writing letters, which I didn’t send.

Now I’m in fourth year and I discovered that she has no boyfriend yet. I also found out that she is not rich, which is one of the reasons I did not hesitate in making a move. This information has encouraged me to go on and court her, to tell her how much I have loved her for the past three years. How do I go about it?


Dear Jake,

Having a crush on a teacher is a common occurrence in schools. What maybe a novelty is the capacity of the student to continue holding the torch for dear teacher for a period of almost three years. You have been quite persistent.

The good thing about the feeling you have for your teacher is that it has made you a better student because you have her as your inspiration. That’s very good indeed. If for that alone, I’d say the circumstance had a positive effect on you.

Since you’ve already been writing love letters to her, unsent though they were, why not really send one this time? Who knows? No one—until you let her read one of those letters. Be sensitive to her reactions, her words and even her body language. You see, no pain, no gain. Just a word of caution though, if she chooses to snub you that’s her privilege. As a rule, most women tend to play coy and not too forward. It’s rather complex.

Sometimes we say “maybe” when actually we mean “may be.” Now this complex situation is compounded by the fact that the object of your affection is the teacher, who might be ridiculed by her peers for taking on one of her students. So, just play it cool. You don’t have to pressure her into a clear-cut reply. The fact that she will maintain her good relationship with you after you have declared your intentions is good enough to last you in the coming days.

In passing, you mentioned the difficulty you had continuing your schooling. I strongly suggest that you put all your energy and concentration on getting that high school diploma first. Then, if possible, go on to college, if your uncle is still willing to underwrite your education. A good alternative is one of those computer schools to equip you with enough capability to get employed while pursuing college education nights.

I heard one optimist say a stone that is meant for you would even roll up a hill to be where you are. Jake, if the teacher is the one for you, she will not roll but she will wait for you. You’ll both then realize that each was worth all the waiting for.

Very truly yours,
Dr. Dana R. Sesante

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on July 27, 2014.


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