Turn Your Child's No into Yes



What if you could turn your child’s NO into YES?Is your child’s first response to everything an immediate and adamant “NO”?You aren’t alone.Many parents share your frustration (and anger) when every single response seems to be NO.You aren’t alone, even teachers get frustrated when their students say NO - sometimes before they know what the request is going to be!What happens to YOU when you hear the word NO? Notice how you feel when you read it right now.NO is a powerful word.NO can make you shut down.NO can make you feel rejected.NO can take you to a younger stage in life when adults held sway.

  • Do you feel like you have a little general at your house, ruling with a great big stick and a great big NO?

  • Do you walk on egg-shells, afraid that your next request will be met with a resounding NO?

  • Do you avoid asking just to avoid the NO?

Change your FrameWhat if you viewed NO as just the beginning of the conversation?What if you considered NO as simply an opportunity to learn more?What if you decided that NO was the first step towards YES?(Can you see how you might already be changing how you feel about NO?)How did NO get into the room in the first place?NO is the ‘easy’ answer when:

  • He’s overwhelmed with too many requests, questions, or words.

  • He doesn’t have enough information.

  • He feels strong emotions that he can’t put words to.

  • He is, by nature, an observer and needs time before joining in.

  • He is, age appropriately, using his own free will and choice.

  • He is tired and/or hungry.

What if you welcomed his NO with interest and curiosity rather than frustration and anger?Accepting NO.He said it. Can you accept it?(By the way, NO may also sound like: “I don’t know,” or “I don’t care.”)Resist going head-to-head and end up lamely saying, “Because I said so.” Be patient. Wait.(Deep breathing helps here.)Stay neutral and calm – and then tell him what you DO want.What do you want instead?Because our brains think in pictures rather than words, it is important that you give him plenty of ‘food for thought.’When you say, “Don’t run” or “Don’t spill your milk,” he has to picture himself running and spilling milk before he can picture not doing those things.Ask yourself, “What do I want instead?”Tell him with enough detail that he knows exactly what you want.“I want you to hold my hand in the parking lot.”“I want you to see if you can keep your milk in the glass.”Choose your NOs with care.At the river on a summer day, I overheard a dad telling his son, “Don’t throw sand.” There was no more perfect place to throw sand and I wondered if this dad was thoughtlessly echoing words from his childhood.Where could you make your own NO be a resounding YES? Leave a comment below.

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