How Kids Get Hurt When You Say “No”

No matter how you say it whether it’s “non” in French, “nein” in German, and “baw” in Laotian, that nasty word “No” is usually accompanied with a just-as-nasty tone in parenting. I strive to do everything in my power to provide a safe environment for my child to play and live without having to say, “No.” Instead of “No, I can’t pick you up right now,” I actually can and yes, pick him up. Other than yell “NO! Don’t touch garbage from the trash,” I give him something else that, yes, he can play with. If he wants to eat that old blueberry from the corner of the kitchen floor, I say, yes, eat it if you want to try it. That’s my choice of parenting – try saying “yes” more and provide an environment accordingly. Dangerous events do conjure up a spur-of-the-moment lapse in gentle discipline and I have to live with my shittiest mommy moment so far.


Long story short, Gym Hottie came home early and we took Humnoy to the emergency room. He has burns from a hair straightener that off the bathroom counter. All this guilt, all this agony over an incident that happened in 5 seconds and could possibly scar my child’s face forever. If I could replace those 5 seconds where I screamed “Oh NO!” to make sure it was out of his reach, I so would.

If I provided a place where, yes, he can join Mama in the bathroom and safely play while she gets ready, he wouldn’t have those burns. Usual bathroom convos are “No, don’t play with the toilet” (the lid should’ve been down), “No, don’t touch Mommy’s makeup (I should put it away if I was not using it), and “No, I’m almost done! I’ll pick you up then (My hair can wait; my child doesn’t have to). So what he got funny looks at Fred Meyer? So what we have to goop on Neosporin on his face 1-3 times daily? It could always be worse and I have to let go of this shitty-mom guilt.

At this point, Humnoy is happy and pain-free and we are still thankful the burns didn’t get to his eyes or in his mouth. He’s his happy and beautiful self, maybe-scars and all. Our new task is to closely monitor his wounds when he, yes, can do this, that, or the other.


What do you try to do to say, “Yes” rather than “No?” How do you treat burns?


11 thoughts on “How Kids Get Hurt When You Say “No”

  1. I am so sorry this happened to Humnoy and to you. Lane has a small white patch on his forehead from where he pitched down the deck stairs on my watch. It is a terrible feeling, and I know you must be broken-hearted, but he’s alive and he’s safe, and he has a mother that would do anything for him. I hope you guys get to feeling better.

    • Thank you! GH is the most distraught over this than either I or Humnoy, oddly enough. He’s very sentimental about his son’s good looks apparently. πŸ˜€

      I am just doing what I can to help speed up the healing process and make sure he’s not in pain, which is the worst as a parent I’m sure you know πŸ˜₯

  2. at my old house we had a basement and never did get around to putting in a baby gate. Melinda was so good, but one day she was excited and tired and ran around the corner to go into the bedroom and somehow toppled over and fell down. Her dad caught her before she hit the ground but there was the horrible time that she was falling and I knew nothing I could do could stop her because I was too far away when she started running. It’s really amazing though what kids can recover from, and how quickly. I think our guilt often lasts longer. We were lucky she didn’t get seriously hurt, just a bit bruised, but still. I’m glad I no longer have stairs. I hope he gets better soon.
    I use aloe vera, or a paste of a bit of water with baking soda. Since it’s near his mouth I’d stick with pure aloe vera. We used to have it growing on our windowsill. You can buy some just make sure it’s a high percentage, like 98% aloe.

  3. As always I SO relate, ds pulled my curling iron down on his arm back in April. I cried WAY more than he did in the emergency room. I like your philosophy on “No” I think I need to implement that into my life. Saying no all day really does wear a person down.

    • It truly is. People agree and disagree on the intellectual level of children but who LIKES hearing “No” even if they understand it or “know better?” it’s a really negative word.

      I hope Silas recovered well. And you too, mama!

  4. ::hugs mama::
    Accidents happen and just as our babies are learning about the world around them, we are discovering the world of parenting! I’m glad your baby boy isn’t in pain right now. And scars are total babe catchers!


  5. So sorry to hear about the burns 😦 I heard that they get so many injuries and accidents at this age, yikes!

    I do the same as you: I try to say yes more than no. For instance, instead of saying “Stop running” I say, “Let’s walk.” I just figured kids don’t like having limitations and instead are more inspired with positive associations.

    And yes the biggest help to keep ourselves from saying no is to remove those situations to begin with. Hence all the dangerous stuff way above his reach, or not even enticing him with things I know I’d tell him not to do anyway.

    • So glad to hear it works for others families! I’m not perfect and say “No” more than I like but when I remember to stay away from “dead man’s language,” I feel much better and am positive it will work.

      Just today, I left the tub of Vaseline out in his reach and he sauntered to me with his hand gooped in it. I first thought, “Ok. He’s not hurt so yelling at him wouldn’t help” and then just calmly said, “Vaseline is for your burns, baby.”

  6. Pingback: Can Babies Help With Chores? « The Laotian Commotion

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