Saying “No”, “Don’t” or such negative words to your child too frequently is not really the best way to discipline them. In fact, when used too often, the words lose their meaning, and do not affect the child any longer.
Instead of saying “No”, parents should try and find other ways of conveying their message to children. Here are some substitutes you can try:
1. “Sure, but after…”
If you think what your child is asking for is reasonable enough but at the same time do not want them to have it immediately, you can work a compromise. Instead of saying “No”, tell your child they will get what they want but when you deem fit.
2. “You can choose between…”
For instance, you can let your child choose between having one cookie before dinner or two after a meal. Allow them to make a choice. This will make them feel they are making an independent decision.
3. “Hey! Look at this…”
If your child still seems adamant, the other option to try is to divert their attention to something else like a toy or book or any other interesting object.
4. “Why don’t you play with this instead?”
Eileen Kennedy-Moore, author of What About Me? 12 Ways to Get Your Parents’ Attention (Without Hitting Your Sister), was quoted as saying by parents.com, “It’s easier for children to replace a behavior than to stop it.” So, next time you want your child to stop playing with an unsafe item, do not simply snatch it away but replace with a safer but equally attractive object.
5. “I would love to join you”
Through delayed gratification, children learn the value of working and waiting for a reward. And one of the ways to do so is by telling your child that you also want what he or she asked for but you cannot have it immediately and would appreciate if the little one waits too.
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