Originally Posted by tboroson
I think, if you never point out the activity that you *don't* want the child to do, the child will never learn that some actions are disapproved of. ... they'll *never* get the lesson if you never say it.
I think "never" is a pretty strong word.
I think that kids aren't as simple-minded as we think. A knowing look, an emotional response from Mum...those things can send a very clear message that some things are wrong. When they are older, I think it is good to explain to them WHY a certain something might be wrong. But my feeling is, until they are old enough to understand such concepts, redirection alone can be sufficient.
With that said, I don't go out of my way to avoid saying "we don't do [X]...". I just think that those who do are not doing their children any disservice, but are promoting a certain value that is important in their family.
Interesting comments by Foo about behaviours at home translating to other people's homes. I remember reading a book that described how children act differently at home then when out and about. Actually, so do adults. And that they make that distinction quite readily.
At our home, DD is allowed to climb on the coffee table and the side table (our furniture is all junk b/c we are in a "temporary" home). In fact, the side table is her favorite spot! And yet, she has never tried to climb on anyone's furniture when we are visiting them. She is much more reserved in a strange place. Aunt Jane's coffee table does not look like ours, is not in our living room, so she doesn't apparently "assume" that b/c she can climb on ours, she can climb on anybody's, kwim?
If I had nice furniture, I probably wouldn't let her climb on it, but right now it's all junky, and its fun for her. We try to let her have as free a rein as possible, yet even so there are many opportunities for her to learn limits and to be denied a request. When we move and have nicer furniture, I have no doubts that she will easily understand that *this* particular peice is not to be climbed on. Kids are pretty adaptable, and I think lessons can be learned at any age, not just "from an early start".