with author Guest Contributor
saying "no" to kids: wrong or necessary?
Parenting philosophies are like snow flakes, no two are exactly identical. The opinions below more than prove that. See how these Friends of Ricki respond when we posed the question, “How often should parents use the word “no” in raising our kids.”
Say No to No!
Kimberley Clayton Blaine, MA, MFT, aka “The Go To Mom”
The main problem with repeatedly saying “no” is that it causes a child to tune a parent out – and this powerful word loses its meaning. If a baby puts himself in a harmful situation and has tuned out the word “No,” the baby will not differentiate a very serious situation from a not so serious one.
Also, parents often tell their children “no” when it comes to behavior issues–and leave it at that. Kids are left knowing what they CAN’T do instead of what they can. Helping kids to understand why a behavior is unacceptable and offering them a replacement increases the chances of changing the way they act. Here are a few of Kimberly’s tips:
Replace and Redirect Let's just say your preschooler is banging on the table... who wouldn't want to say no? Kimberly says try: Find an alternative phrase and redirect behavior. Instead of “Stop banging on the table!” try asking him to stop and suggest an alternative activity. “Would you like to draw with some pens instead?”
Engage and Explain Nearly everything parents of little ones say and do is met with one question -- “WHY?” When you tell your child they shouldn’t do something–like running in the house–explain why they shouldn’t do it. Kimberly says try: “If you run in the house you could get hurt. If you have lots of energy and want to run, let’s play outside.”
Be Consistent As with any parenting technique, the success of what you do is tied into how consistent you are. Commit to omit no! and stick with it.
Call in the Calvary We can’t be with our kids every minute of every day. Take the time to explain this technique to spouse, babysitters, daycare providers -- anyone involved in the care of your child. And don’t forget to clue in Grandma and Grandpa! It can be awkward the first few times, since saying no is a knee-jerk response for most adults.
Be Patient If you start to feel weary and are ready to explode -- step away. Take a deep breath, remind yourself of your goal and have faith that someday soon your hard work will pay off with well-rounded, happy children who behave.
Then there's the other side... The dudes at How to Be a Dad are self-proclaimed "PFSes" (Parenting Failure Specialists*) and fans of the word "no." Take a look.
Say Yes to No
Charlie Capen & Andy Herald, How to Be a Dad
As noted PFSes, we feel particularly qualified to offer our expertise in the use of the lovely, ubiquitous two-letter phrase that so many people have come to know and love. Or at least know. What arearewe experts in, you ask? Not quite sure. At the end of the day, we just believe in common-sense parenting. And belly-fart-kisses, but that's beside the point.
A good solid "no" can save lives and make up for lost time. For as much as child development experts harp on endlessly about freedom and allowance, they also need to promote the setting of guidelines, routines and boundaries.
A good “no” program can last right through the teen years. If we hadn't had some semblance of right or wrong from our parents’ “no’s”, we'd be sitting somewhere eating Ramen out of a baseball cap.
Being completely permissive gives kids the sense that they run the show when they need guidance the most. We become the employees not the employers. Someone has to steer the ship, right? Mom, Dad, Grandparents? Someone has to do it.
That’s right, folks... they even have a diagram.
The number of o's in the word directly affects its meaning and appropriate application. You don't have to say "no" every time, but you're a parent, you're the boss, you're going to need to use it. You just need to become skilled at the art of using its nuances effectively.
Try different variations and lateral moves, like "no, not right now" or "no, not in this lifetime" or "noooooo you can go to the park" (just to mess with them).
Essentially, you're really saying "yes" to your kid's survival when you say "no." Make sense? No? Perfect. The fate of your children is in your hands, people.
How often to you hear yourself saying “no”? Let’s talk!