Last week I challenged myself to eliminate the word no from my vocabulary when interacting with my children. I failed miserably. However, I’m not so sure I wanted to succeed.
After I posted my challenge, I received several insightful comments that I really took to heart. Brianna Renee reminded me that by not saying no to children, they don’t learn boundaries or how to say no themselves. And a Fellow MilWife and Parenting Ad Absurdum reminded me how skilled children are at pushing their limits until the only possible response a parent is left with is NO. And they’re right. Redirection is a great concept, but there are certain situations where No is necessary.
After reading the comments, I altered my challenge. Instead of completely eliminating the word no, I attempted to use it less frequently. And I definitely succeeded at that. I did use the redirection strategies I read about in Parents magazine, and they worked surprisingly well. Saying things like, “Big C, you can play outside after you do your homework” (instead of saying, “No, you can’t play outside.) and “Freeze!” when Little C tried to ride her Dora tricycle into the street (instead of screaming “No!”), allowed me to say no without saying no.
I even tried using synonyms for no. (The experts didn’t think of that one did they?) Don’t, stop, quit it, uh uh, and in your dreams were very effective deterrents. In fact, my kids found the “in your dreams” response so funny that by the time they stopped giggling, they had forgotten what it was they had asked for.
So thank you ladies for the comments! Maybe we should write to Parents magazine and tell them that their experts should spend a week with our children before offering such crazy advice.