The picture below is of my baby # 8, William, and his expression tells all. He is in charge. The entire household runs around his schedule. He is Master and Commander (or so he thinks).

Yes, initially your baby will be in charge (at least for the first few months). But by three months (if your baby is following the average growth chart) his training must begin and the first lesson to learn is Yes and No.

A firm, but loving No should be given when needed; for example when baby:

  • Bites (while nursing)
  • Scratches you or himself
  • Yells in anger

And remember, there is never any reason to yell or raise your voice. The idea is to teach your baby, not discipline.

And a kind and loving Yes should be stated over and over again, each and every day; for example:

  • Yes, mommy loves you
  • Yes, it’s time to eat
  • Yes, let’s read a book, let’s dance, etc.

At one point or another all of us mothers (and oftentimes fathers) have given up sleep, food, comfort, and social standing for our little bundles of joy. Their demands come first. And we happily, though oftentimes sleepily answer their calls time after time. Something amazing happens to us the moment we first hold our baby. The love we feel is overwhelming and changes our life forever. Number one on our list of priorities has suddenly changed. And our little baby is now the center of our world.

But who is in charge? The loving care for your baby can all too easily lead you into a downward slope. A slope that baby recognizes and uses to his advantage. They learn all too quickly that they can manipulate their loving parents like puppets.

Warning: consistency is vital! No one said parenting was easy. And this can be one of the most difficult jobs a parent has. You must be consistent. Without consistency justice cannot be exercised, and without justice the baby will only learn manipulation and become a master at tantrums.

But just look at that adorable face how can you not lovingly indulge his every desire? Well, if your goal is to create a monster, a possible menace to society or a delinquent, then go on indulging him. But should your goal be otherwise, then the training starts now! Even baby must learn that mom and dad are in charge. And by the age of two this should be something he is fully aware of and respects (at least most of the time). Out of love a parent must instill at a very early age a sense of order and an understanding of the words Yes and No. A baby thrives on a routine, an orderly schedule and love. With these three things in place it is relatively simple to remain in charge.

By two months most babies have already formed an emotional bond with their parents and are giving them their “social” smile. And by nine months they are fully capable of letting you know when you’ve displeased them and when they don’t want to be left alone. If they can relate this at nine months then they can certainly learn the concept of yes or no. I have found that most of my children were very aware of yes and no by the age of eight months and can even communicate no with a shake of the head. If they can clap their hands when happy then shaking their head for no isn’t all that astounding.

And it is so easy to teach your baby. Talk to baby and read to baby. Communicate. Baby started learning in the womb, where he heard and responded to familiar voices. By your tone of voice, the inflection you give your words, your baby will begin to learn the basic concepts of yes versus no and you will remain in charge of a happy and peaceful home.