When your kid says “NO!”

Photo by Leonid Mamchenkov via Flickr

Are there times when you think your child’s favorite word is, “NO?”

Whether it is picking up socks, eating a few measly carrots at dinner, or going to bed, your kid is going to tell you “no.” So how should you handle that?

Here are a few things to remember:

1. Sometimes it is not that they say it, it is how they say it. There might be times when you would be O.K. if they simply said, “No, thank you.” Teach them that. You will be amazed how happy you might be when your child says it nicely.

Do this by taking opportunities to practice times when they can say, “no, thank you” and it works for them. For example, have some “no, thank you” time when you give them a list of things to do and if they say, “no, thank you,” he does not have to do it. Tell them what you are doing ahead of time. Weird, right? You might be amazed at the effects a little practice can have when it comes to the real deal.

2. Ask yourself if you are willing to follow through with your child actually doing what you asked. It might take getting up from the sofa, going outside when you want to stay inside, or stopping doing something you do not want to stop doing. It is hard. I get it. If you want her to do it, get off your rear and follow through with it. Do it with her. This is when you do not want the, “no” to work.

If you don’t really care, that is fine too. You will not be human if you follow through on everything. Decide early, though, NOT after your kid has argued with you and practiced up on his early lawyering skills. If you allow them to refuse the request after debating, arguing and negotiating, you have just taught them to debate, argue and negotiate.

Is your child really good at this? How do you think they got so good? Hmmmm…

3. Remember, sending them to time out for saying, “no” will likely be counterproductive. Why? Because they are getting what they want…not doing what you asked them to do. If things get ugly and they get to stomping and getting rough and that is something for which you have decided to use time out, make sure you get things calmed down and return to the request as quickly as possible. (Remember, these things for time out: Top 10 and other thoughts).

4. Ultimately, it would be awesome if you had something set up for your child to earn or gain access to for doing what you have asked him to do. For example, if your daughter gives you a big, fat “NO” when you ask her to clean her room, and you have arranged things so she can only gain access to the computer and TV time after she cleans her room, your answer is simple: “OK, remember, as soon as you get your room cleaned up, you can get your computer time.” You can walk away at this point.

This is hugely important because your kids are going to refuse to do things. They do not want to clean up the room any more than you want to. It is an incredibly natural thing. Be ready for it.

Be prepared for what you are going to do when they say, “NO.”

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One thought on “When your kid says “NO!”

  1. Pingback: What is your child escaping? |

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