How many times during the day do you say “no,” “don’t,” or “stop” to your children? It is very tempting to tell our kids “no,” “don’t,” and “stop,” but is that effective? When parents say these things without giving a “yes,” it leaves children to think about what they can do. Let’s be honest, that usually leads to you saying “no” more. Is there an end to this seemingly unending cycle of “no”? Of course there is!
A great place to start is to think about why you are saying no. Is it a safety concern or is it something else? It is just easier for you if your kids did not do whatever they were trying to do? Being aware of the why helps to make you more mindful and offers you the opportunity to do two things:
- Find a way to give a “yes”
- Find a compromise
Finding a yes can be difficult sometimes but it is possible. For instance, your infant wants to bite on an electrical cord. This is a definite no for safety reasons. The yes could be giving them a teething ring or something safe they can bite. As your child gets older, we need to continue to find those yeses. This means learning to compromise. Compromising can sometimes feel like you are giving in, but you are actually teaching your kids a life skill and letting your child know that their voices have meaning. Let’s say that your six-year-old wants to run around the room in their socks. This presents a safety issue as they could slip and hurt themselves. A compromise could be to let them run outside or do an exercise video. Both options serve the same purpose to get them moving. If you can’t think of a compromise, ask your child what their thoughts are. Compromises also work for teens.
Finding yeses every day breaks the “no” cycle and provides your child with clear boundaries, while still meeting their needs. This combination builds a healthy relationship between you and your child and develops life skills necessary for your kids to survive and thrive. Challenge yourself today by asking yourself “how many yeses can I give?”