How To Say "No" To Your Child (Without Actually Saying No)
Saying "no' to your toddler is one of the easiest forms of discipline, but it isn't always the most effective. Aside from the obvious exhaustion (for both parent and kid), try out other methods. Here are a few...
Telling your toddler what not to do is a sure-fire way of getting him/her to do it.
Saying no, you cannot stay up at night will most likely lead to your child replying, “No! I want to stay awake and play.”
This creates a stalemate with the two of you being at loggerheads. Both of you are keyed up and less likely to back down now.
Here are a few steps you can take on how to stop your child from doing things without saying the word “no”:
#1 Postpone the demand
Agree to the demand, but at a later date. Set down some rules while doing so.
Instead of allowing your child to stay up indefinitely by agreeing to her demands, you can state that, yes she can stay up for 15 minutes. However, you can only do so for a single day on your weekend. Reaffirm that you will not forget or make light of her request by writing down a reminder about it in front of her.
Other examples of this solution appear as such, “You can have that snack tomorrow after lunch instead. We can go find a tasty apple slice for you know so that you will not be so full at night.”
By using this method, your child will be satisfied with getting her demands fulfilled. You will get to set down boundaries and rules so that your child does not do something harmful.
#2 Show that you get it
Your child will often feel that you just don’t get him. To him, eating that sugary-filled yummy cookie is the most important act of the day.
Tell him that you get it by saying that “Yes, of course, you want to eat that cookie, mummy likes to eat lots of cookies too.”
This placates kids, allowing you to talk them out of eating a cookie immediately.
You can take it one step further by showing you understand what he is feeling.
“I understand that you’re frustrated that mummy is not letting you eat that cookie now.”
Toddlers are more likely to back off if they feel validated and understood. When they hear that you understand them, they will take it as a victory and are more likely to succumb to your other demands. Do not go head-on against them.
#3 Look past the current conflict
When your child demands something, it may not be because he really wants that packet of Doritos or that extra 15 minutes of play-time at bed-time.
Consider what else has happened in the day that may have led to such a conflict forming. For instance, did you pay less attention to him as compared to his sister? Is he acting out because he did not get his afternoon nap (or that promised bubble bath)?
This does not mean that you cannot say “no” to your child
While you can try to avoid negatives, and avoid the “n” word, sometimes you just have to use it.
Do note that the objective is not to deny your child, but to teach him the idea of consequences without making him feel that you are a tyrant.
Share with us your thoughts on resolving conflicts with your child below!