Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Saying "No" To Children

Take the 'Say "No" to "No" One Day Challenge'

"Whoa, careful", "No", "Don't hurt yourself", "No","Shhhhh, no talking", "No", "Don't fall", "No", "Don't touch", "No", "Not now", "No, don't do that", "No, No, NO-NO-NO".

Do you think you could go through even one day without saying the word "No" to your child?

child free to climb a tree
Climbing higher & higher!
Many parents use a negative approach to dealing with their children, perhaps without even realizing it. It becomes a bad habit. It requires increasingly more badgering from the adult, resulting in a desensitized & dispirited young child. It is not good. For me, it is so sad to see. The adult, the supposed role model, who should be helping their child know what to do, is rather emphasizing what they are not to do. It's not right. It's the wrong approach.

I was sitting on a park bench watching children play on a big jungle gym. Beautiful trees surrounded us and a young boy had climbed up into one of the strong maples. A girl, about 5 years old, watched intently. She ran over to her mother, sitting next to me, and with excitement said, "Mom, I'm going to go climb that tree!". The mother glanced at the tree and with some boredom (as she continued looking at her smart phone), scolded, "No, you'll fall out & then I'll have to take you to the hospital... besides, that's
Ahoy, Captain Tree!
one of those sappy trees and you'll get all dirty and sticky". The girl's eyes were so sad. She walked slowly away, giving the boy in the tree a couple of backward glances.

Another day, I heard a parent walk into the library and tell her little toddler, "no talking, no running, and no touching". Later, all I heard from the mother was a series of,  "shhhhh, no, no, don't touch, no, shhhhhh". The mother was signing up for a library card and the toddler was anxious to get started exploring all the interesting books surrounding her. It wouldn't have taken much to settle the child into a chair with a few books to look at.

Here are four top notch articles, I've previewed, with thoughtful solutions for staying positive with your children in all circumstances... highly recommended reading:

1) EverydayFamily's "Alternatives for saying "no" to your toddler" concisely explains the immunity that builds up against a parent who constantly espouses "no" to their toddlers every questionable action.

A little pink cat climbing that tree!
2) "Parents can break out of the yes-no tug-of-war by coming up with new ways to set limits," says Howard Gardner, an adjunct professor of psychology at Harvard University and author of Changing MindsWeb MD's "How to say no (without saying no) highlights Gardner's wisdom with five strong examples.

3) Helping children to understand a two letter word by Nora Beane is a philosophical approach to replacing the negative with the more thoughtful positive. 

4) Janet Lansbury says, "The key to healthy and effective discipline is our attitude. Toddlerhood is the perfect time to hone parenting skills that will provide the honest, direct, and compassionate leadership our children will depend on for years to come. " Her nine key steps to healthy & effective discipline are excellent guidelines which I endorse wholeheartedly.
Yes, You two did it!!!


It will be necessary to say, "no" to your children in life, but it should be reserved for special circumstances of importance. Even babies are bombarded with "No" from well meaning adults... while pulling an enticing strand of hair hanging within their fingers, or exploring Newton's law of gravity with green peas while eating in a high chair... "No, No, NO, NO, NO". Take the one day challenge. Then make it a week. Then make it a way of living. Life is too short for "no's".

Cheers, Papa Green Bean