Originally Posted by mamazee
Well with kids it's all about playing the odds. There are no guarantees, but you can help make things more or less likely. A toddler who grew up hearing "no" a lot is more likely to become fascinated by the power of "no." Kids who don't have no used with them much don't experience it as such a hugely powerful word and are less likely to say it all the time. For what it s worth, my two didn't have a "no" phase. I'm sure that is part luck, but I'm also sure I stacked the odds by not saying " no" anywhere near as often as it generally seems to be used with babies/toddlers. There are tons of other ways to tell a child to stop doing thing A, and I personally think the best way is by directing them to thing B, not by continually saying "no." And when it's something really important where I need an immediate thing to say, I think "stop" is more effective anyway.
I'm inclined to think that kids going through intense "no" phases has more to do with the general balance of power in the household, and they are trying to regain control by wielding the power of "no" which is one of the few tools they have to do so, and less to do with the frequency with which they hear the word, though the two can obviously be related (a child who has little control and feels like his voice isn't being heard probably hears "no" a lot). A child who frequently hears, "No, do this instead" and is redirected vs a child who hears a flat no and is stopped in his tracks without his impulse being honored - they are hearing the same number of no's, but one is having his impulse respected and one isn't.
My experience - I try very, very hard not to use "no" but not because I think it is an inherently 'bad' word or because it might cause him to use it more later, but because kids are more likely to respond to positive direction rather than negative. For a child who is still grasping language, you tell them, "No climbing on the stairs" or "no running" etc, and what they heard is "climb the stairs" and "run." Saying, "stay down here" and "walk, please" are much more effective. It takes a long time for them to really comprehend negative statements, as they are more likely to respond to the action word you give them whether or not there is a "no" in front of it.
So - I literally almost never use the word "no" and yet it is my 20 month old's favorite word. He heard me say "no" to the dog, and spent the rest of the afternoon following her around and telling her "no." But you know what? I love it! I love that he is so clear about what he does and doesn't want. It makes my job a lot easier! We'll see how it plays out when he gets to 2/3/4 years old, but right now I'm loving the no's.