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How to say no without ever uttering the word

Mother talking son

Mother talking to son

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Think through your objectives of discipline. Are they to guide your child into making good decisions, teach your values or a combination? Your understanding of your objectives will help you come up with the right words to use instead of saying no too frequently.

Updated: November 25, 2012 6:02AM

Tired of saying no to your children, but not quite ready to say yes all the time?

Children hear the word “no” many more times a day than more positives ones when it comes to their requests and behaviors. One unwanted result is a loss of motivation on their part to try again, or the feeling that they can’t do anything right. Want to try some alternatives? Let’s go:

Just say:

† You can do that after dinner.

† Stop banging the floor. It is annoying.

† Wait until later to open that.

† You may play with that after you hang up your clothes.

† It is not OK to hit your sister. It hurts her.

† If you read a book first, you may play a video game.

† You need to put the puzzle away by the time I count to 10.

† I know you’d really like to look around that store, but we don’t have time now.

† I like it when you play fairly with your friends.

† It makes me proud that you controlled yourself today.

† Why do you think it is OK to talk back to me?

Just do:

† Put the responsibility on your child. Ask him to think about what he can do to motivate you to say yes to his request.

† Turn the other cheek and ignore outrageous tantrums and behavior. You may need to let go and just let your child go through his tantrum before you can reason with him. Note: Make sure your child is safe and not a public nuisance if he is acting out.

† Praise good behavior and good decisions. “Thank you for letting me know you wanted to draw on your closet door before you did it. Maybe we can buy a chalkboard for your room for you to draw on.”

† Think through your response to a request or unacceptable behavior before you act. Be thoughtful; otherwise you are not in control of the situation and what you want your child to learn from it. Children know when adults are just saying the first thing that pops into their heads vs. thinking it through. They lose respect for the adult’s disciplining.

† What can you change so you don’t have to say, “No,” so frequently? For instance, can you move the family heirloom to a high shelf so you don’t have to yell, “No,” every time your toddler moves near it?

† If a spontaneous “no” pops out of your mouth in response to a situation, don’t worry. It is an opportunity for you to explain why you said it. Was there immediate danger nearby? Point it out and explain that it’s because you love your child that you reacted the way you did.

Gannett News Service

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