Do you use ‘no’ too often with your child?
Created by Jasmeet Kaur Deep Updated on Sep 16, 2020
Here’s some food for thought! Think about it—how many times do you say a no to your child versus saying a yes?
YES... yes is not just a word it is a feeling. It creates a sense of positivity and affirmation in the person saying it as well as the person receiving it. Most of the times when you receive a yes as a response, it makes you happy. Imagine creating that positive, affirmative and happy feeling in your child so that it stays with him forever.
As a child grows from a new born to a toddler ‘NO’ becomes a parent's favorite word and most parents continue to use it for quite a long time to come. "Hey, don't touch that"; "what are you doing"; "please don't do this"; "don't go there" ; "don't walk so fast" ; "don't put that in your mouth"; "don't bend "; "don't lean"; "don't go there" ; "don't eat that"; "don't mess the place"; "No running", " no going out"; "no playing"; " no jumping" No!!! No!!! No!!! becomes a part of parents vocabulary and a part of the child’s environment.
Now, imagine you being constantly told no for everything you want to do…'no' by your boss, by your partner, by your parents….always a no....aaahhh!! It is annoying.. Isn't it? Then, why do that to a child? Why take him away from being affirmative in life?
Why should I avoid saying a no?
The more you use the word NO the lower the self esteem of the child gets. He will feel less confident about himself and his actions. Every time you say no, you lower the enthusiasm of your child to learn and explore his surroundings. In due course of time, your child may just not take any initiative because of the fear of rejection. Also, sometimes, the child may end up becoming rebellious.
'No' parents make 'No' children.
A close friend of mine complained that my daughter says a no for everything I say, whether it is to greet someone or to pick her toys from the living room. The reason is simple: she has adopted what she heard since her younger days. It is you who started saying a no for everything then, why blame her? In the school where I used to teach, I observed that a teacher who used the word ‘no’ too often would de-sensitize her students towards the word. It does not hold any meaning for them any longer.
How can I become a ‘yes’ parent?
Is it really possible to say a yes for everything? Would I not spoil my child that way? Am I supposed to say yes when my child asks for ice cream and has a runny nose? While I urge you to become a yes parent, I do not advocate you fulfilling every demand of your child. This has its own repercussions. I do not say allow your child to play with fire or a knife. The trick here is to say a no without creating negative emotions.
What are the alternatives to saying a ‘No?
- Diversion of attention: One method which is likely to work well is diversion of attention. So if your child is banging the table or flinging things around, instead of constantly asking him not to do it, divert his attention towards something else. Pick him up and take him to some other place. Or hand over some toys for him to play with or assign some responsibility.
- Allow the child to experience: If your toddler insists on having a fork or knife to play with, allow him to experience the damages it can cause, but under your supervision. Explain to him why you do not want him to play with it.
- Postpone the desire: This technique can work with older children. Toddlers usually do not comprehend time in its true sense. But under any circumstances avoid making false promises. Listen to the desire attentively and discuss it creatively.
- No desire is unreasonable: What if your will was considered unimportant and insignificant. Why make the child believe what he wants is of no concern to his parents? Listen to what he wants, discuss it, ask him what his plans are. From there you can probably create a story and have a healthy conversation with your child instead of simply saying you can’t have what you want.
Handling a tantrum/misbehavior
One thing parents and teachers must avoid is humiliating the child in public. I observed a significant change in one of my students since I started talking to him privately. I would take him out of the classroom or have a moment with him alone and explain instead of saying anything in front of the entire class. So in case your child is throwing a tantrum make sure you take your child in a corner or another room and talk about what he wants. Hug him tight and tell him why the behavior is not accepted. In case you have to say a No, do it but while explaining the reason to your child. Reasoning is a must. Use terms like all right, alright, very well, of course, by all means, sure, certainly, absolutely, indeed, agreed more often.
Remember the onus of a positive child is on positive parenting.
| Sep 01, 2016
Hi This is one of the finest blogs I have read so far. I think you have knocked it with your pointers. I am a mum and i have been using the 'yes' techniques but not consiously! Reading your blog made me realise that this should be blended down in our habbit to make it more regular. Thank you for the gentle tap!
| Sep 11, 2016
My son 3. 5 yr old now... whenever we go out anywhere he insists to pick him up all the time.... I can't carry him and walk for much longer time now as he is 14 mgs... He knows that I don't carry him... so he insists his father ....and he says no starts crying or sits on roads.... what should I do