How often do we as adults saying No to our kids?
Sometimes we say it to protect them from dangers. But do we know that too often saying NO is not good for them?
According to studies, kids who hear “no” too much have poorer language skills than children whose parents offer more positive feedback. “Plus, saying no can become ineffective when it’s overused” says Claire Lerner, director of parenting resources at Zero to Three, a nonprofit that studies infants and toddlers. So how to tell them without saying the word?
Once is Enough
We must be firm in delivering your first “no”, so there is no need to reiterate. Use a serious facial expression and communicate the reasons why your child is not getting what they want. If the first “no” does not work, try a different approach, such as finding ways to say “yes.
It is not enough to say “no.” Children do not understand and are likely to repeat misbehavior unless we give an explanation. The most effective way to say “no” is to give valid reasons your child can understand.
“Yes” Can Mean “No”
Children hear “no” too many times, harming their language development and potentially causing resentment. It is entirely possible to say “yes” while meaning “no.” For example, if the kids ask for a cookie, we can reply: “Yes, you can have a cookie after dinner.” If they ask for a new toy while shopping, say: “Yes, if this is what you want for Christmas.” In this way the kids have the opportunity to get what they want on a special day and learn to compromise.
Do Not Shout
Child Development Journal writes, “Yelling at your kids can be just as bad as corporal punishment, and it could cause behavior problems and emotional development issues.” The consequences of yelling at children outweigh any possible benefit of temporarily silencing them. The Journal of Marriage and Family found that yelling can cause depression and self-esteem issues. Thus, it is vital to learn to communicate in a calm and friendly manner.
Persistent requests are often a form of boredom. Paying attention to the kids by engaging in conversation or playing with them can quickly change the object of their attention and refocus it onto something more positive.
Respect Their Privacy
Do not embarrass the kids in front of other people. Get their attention, go to a private place and clearly communicate your reasons for saying “no.” Your child may resent you if you disrespect them in public, especially if other people make fun of them.
Say No with an Alternative
Giving alternatives can convince the kids that we are not declining their request. For example: “No, darling, you cannot have candy; you can have an apple instead” offers an alternative and opens the door to an explanation about the health benefits of apples over candy.
Do not Give False Hopes
Parents often say: “Not now, darling.” If not now, when? If we fail to fulfill the promise, the kids may start having trust issues. Give a concrete period that the kids can expect to have their wish granted. For example: “Not now, darling. We will buy that for your birthday.”
Let the Child Choose
Choosing empowers the kids and makes them feel that their opinions are worth something. They will not feel ignored if they get to decide. For example, we can decline a request for candy and ask if there is a piece of fruit that they would like instead, remind them of your explanation about the health benefits.
Do Not Contradict Your Partner
Sometimes one parent will say “no”, only to see the child go to the other parent for a “yes.” This can cause conflict between parents and create a manipulative habit in your child. You and your partner must communicate: it’s easy to ask whether a decision has already been made.
Saying “no” is difficult. You want to make your children happy. It’s a lot easier, at least in the moment, to cave in to their wants. It’s easier to shout. However, given the long-term negative effects, it is imperative that you spend time learning to communicate calmly and effectively.
Skoebi-do Child Care Centre
Jl. Batur Sari No. 26 Sanur, Bali (085103152058)
Jl. Pantai Berawa Canggu, Bali (085100474573)