Friday, June 7, 2013

Tired of telling your child no? Here are some ways to avoid it.

In a recent interview with ABC News, Desperate Housewives Marla Sokoloff made others take notice with her decision to stop telling her child "no". The debate on proper discipline still rages, especially in America where spanking is often viewed as cruel; some even consider it abusive!

For most parents, the word "no" is spoken more than words of praise. It may even get to the point that the child just does not listen anymore. This can lead to danger and harm if the child does not listen when they really are doing something that will hurt them. As parents, we tend to overreact when we fear anything bad will happen to our child. Truth is sometimes we have to let them learn on their own. Obviously, this does not apply to life-threatening situations or anything that would cause major harm (broken bones, etc.).

Disclaimer: The author accepts NO responsibility for anything that may happen as a result
of actions taken based on the words in this post. She does not claim to be an expert.
She is only giving her opinion based on her personal knowledge and what she has read,
and the information herein should only be taken as such.

If your child is constantly giving you a reason to say "no", Ask Dr. Sears offers '18 Ways to Say No Positively'. I've rewritten a few of them below, and you read the full article here.

1: Create a "yes" environment for your child to explore. During the exploration phase of childhood (between about 1 and 2 years old), a toddler needs to touch, play with, throw, hit, kick, pull, and push things. When you find that your lovely little angel had decided to do this with your things, the result is an immediate "no" and punishment, followed by an upset parent and an upset child. Finding safe things for your child to explore is important during this phase. Take them to the back yard, to a park, or to a playground. This promotes an environment where the child can run around, touch things, and climb on things safely. He/She will be happier, and so will you!

2: Try Try to replace "no" with a reason the child should not do what they are about to do. Without a reason behind it, the word "no" is rather empty. Your child realizes this. They become immune to the word without reinforcement behind it. If you can get the child to understand why they cannot do the thing rather than just telling them no, they are more likely to listen and to learn. If the child is about to touch the stove, tell them "no", but add an explanation like "Hot. Ouch." or "Boo-Boo." Then, when they inevitably try to do it again, you can just say the "Hot. Ouch." part, and they will start to understand.

3: Substitute a "Yes" for a "No". When your child is crawling or walking around looking for trouble, watch them carefully and let them explore. When they decide on the trouble they are going to go for, then it is time to act. If the child is trying to grab something that is off-limits, like your collection of knick-knacks perhaps, you can bring him one of his toys. Say, "Not mama's [item here], but you can have this toy." Providing alternatives helps avoid tantrums.

4: Understand that your child is just trying to learn, and know that you do not have to be mean just because you have to make your child stop doing something. If your child picks up something they should not have, stay calm. Rather than rushing over and snatching the object away from your child, talk about it with her. Perhaps she grabs a picture off the table. Tell her who is in the picture. Tap on the glass telling her what it is and what it can do if it breaks. Show her the sharp edges, and carefully let her touch them. Then, you can tell her that it is dangerous to play with the picture, but she can look at it anytime. It is still good to find something else for her to play with after you get her to put the picture back where she found it.

What kind of things have you done to replace the word "no"? How do you discipline your child in general? This is a very hard topic for some people to discuss, so please respect other readers' opinions/beliefs when commenting.

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