‘Yes’ Means Yes, ‘No’ Means No
Saying “yes” to your child is easy and usually pleasant for both of you. Yet, some situations call for a firm “No” and this can result to outbursts or abuse. It can lead to negative emotions between you and your child.
Assertive parenting is necessary if you are going to set healthy limits for your child. Here’s how you can go about it:
1. Saying it and Meaning It
However, if you truly believe that saying “No” is the best choice, simply look at them. And tell them that you have heard their opinion but you will not change your mind. Then, walk away and allow your child to come to terms with your decision. Do no engage in their drama.
It is important to balance your ‘yes’es’ and your ‘no’s.’ Occasionally, you should allow room for negotiation. This will obviously work for older kids aged 6 and above… Also, listen closely to your child when she asks for a trade off that will allow for a win-win situation between both of you.
For example, instead of you saying ‘no’ to your 7 year old playing a video game, consider negotiating when he proposes to do his homework well and finish in time so he can have just 30 minutes of his favorite video game. If your child negotiates effectively without abuse or tantrums, it won’t hurt to say ‘yes’. Both of you will be pleased.
3. Communicating ‘No’ and ‘Yes’ To Toddlers
Toddlers understand body language best because they spend more time in face-to-face & bodily contact with their parents. So, instead of shouting ‘No!’ when they are up to something, practice the same body language that will convey your disapproval of their behavior. It could be a stern look, shaking your head or making sounds that express ‘No’.
But for toddlers to make sense of ‘no’ gestures, they also need to learn gestures that affirm their behavior. So, when they do something that you approve, you should hug them, give them a small high-five or simply smile and they will understand that you approve of their behavior.
4. No Alternatives
When you keep using the word ‘no’, it could lose its meaning to both the toddler and the grown child. So instead of always barking a plain ‘No’, use alternatives that are not as blunt or as negative as the word ‘no’ connotes. This just tends to diffuse the defensive urge to argue when kids hear the word ‘no’.
So when your toddler asks to stay up late on a school night, just saying ‘no’ (and nothing else) can result into a bitter argument. On the other hand, saying, “I don’t think that is a good idea. You have to be up early tomorrow”, may be a better alternative. It really explains to your child why he cannot stay up late and he is more likely to accept a subtle ‘no’ and go to bed.
5. Please, Stick To It – It’s Ok…
Parents inevitably feel guilty when they have to say ‘no’ to their kids. This feeling can easily cause you to backtrack on your decision. Over time, you can even become a passive parent whose kids are out of control.
So, do not beat yourself up when you say “no”. Instead, do something that will cool you off after an argument with your child. Take a nap, write, go for a jog or a walk and remind yourself that your decision is in the best interest of your infant!