5 Ways to Discipline Your Kid Without Saying ‘No’
To the majority of us, one of the most challenging things is saying no to our friends, loved ones, colleagues, seniors, and in some cases, even those we have never met before. Be it psychologically or emotionally, we are not courageous enough to clearly say NO even to the impossible things.
Yet it is directly opposite in the case who are the closest to our heart. Yes, you thought it right… it’s your children. When saying no to them for anything, you neither feel bad nor feel the need for explanation or justification. And this happens several times a day in an average household. Surveys even suggest that an average child hears the word NO around 400 times a day.
Yeah, you read it right! And studies have shown that this word plays a very negative role in child development.
Kids are humans at the end of the day, and they feel all the basic emotions such as anger, disgust, fear, and happiness as we all do.
So, what should the parents do that will instill positivity in them and can discipline them without saying “NO”?
It’s not possible to leave your children running like angry bulls destroying everything in their way. We don’t mean that at all, but we should find a way that is neither rude to your kid nor a hurdle to discipline your kid.
So let’s find some ways through the eyes of experts and with some everyday examples on the topic:
Show Agreement but on your Terms
Doctor Bruce Grellong, a Ph.D. author and chief Psychologist in one of the renowned institutions at the Jewish Board of Family and Children’s Services (USA), holds the opinion that one must not use the word NO in specific. Instead of telling the child to stop, parents should rephrase the word NO in a way that doesn’t sound that bad. As we all know, the time before dinner is hard for us to pass; on one end, we feel hungry and want to have something to munch upon. And on the other end, we are tired of working the whole day and want to call off the day after having dinner.
Children in our homes feel the same as we do but in a more magnified way. So, let’s have an example of this everyday routine. Kids feel hungry and bored at that time too, and that’s why they often want to have candies or chocolates or anything to get rid of hunger and boredom. But having them before dinner will affect their eating habits.
So, the next time your kid asks for chocolate or junk food before dinner, feel his pain, and don’t say direct NO. You can rephrase it like, “Yes, you can have your chocolate, but after the dinner.” This way, you will avoid hurting their feelings altogether and will also not give in their demands.
Say No without saying the Word
Ms. Claire Lerner, who’s a licensed clinical social worker and child development specialist, suggests another way to say NO without saying the word NO. She believes that you can give some authority to the kid regarding his life and routine. You should give him a choice of options to decide from. She discusses this with an example:
Kids love Ice cream, but overeating ice cream isn’t good for health. You should know a healthier treat that your child loves more than the ice cream. So, the next time your toddler asks for ice cream, it’s time for you to make him an offer. You can say either he can have a scoop of ice cream or have a bowl full of chocolate yogurt. That’s a natural choice that will surely make you and your toddler both happy only if Chocolate yogurt is the treat he loves more than the ice cream.
So for this, you need to be well-aware of your kids’ likings so that you can give him/her something healthy without saying refusing their demands.
Offer an Alternate
Eileen Kennedy-Moore Ph.D. is an author and a clinical psychologist, based in Princeton, NJ believes that you should avoid saying no to children by replacing one bad habit with a good one. Children have a lot of energy, which needs to be channelized. Sometimes, they do things without even knowing what they are doing and why they are doing it. They just do things because they don’t know what else to do. So, the point is to replace one habit with another.
Just take an example of a mobile phone; nowadays, children love to have their hands on it, but your Brand new iPhone is not a plaything. Every time the phone rings, children rush to grab it. Hence, the next time this happens, you can have it back by saying, “Can mommy have the phone; you can have this lovely toy.”
You just have to make sure the toy must be compelling enough. Doing this several times consistently will help you in setting boundaries with your kid without saying any negative words.
Stop and Explain
Another useful example is given by Linda Shook Sorkin who’s an expert in Marriage, Family, and Teen Coaching. She says that toddlers need undivided attention, and sometimes it results in power struggles with siblings. Most of the cases of child aggression towards others are due to the above fact. Aggression towards others invites parents’ attention, so they do it repeatedly. The only reason is the understanding capacity of toddlers of what happens to others when their hit is limited.
According to Linda, parents need to stop the aggression immediately and keep things fresh. You can say it like “you don’t need to hit others when you are angry dear” It’s a simple way to emphasize that we use words, not our hands, and parents can at the same time stop aggression and guide preferred behavior that they want. Aggression can also be towards other things such as plants and animals. Another way is to teach them is through empathy; tell them that plants and animals are alive too. When they are hit, they get hurt too, so ask your kids to treat them with respect. In this way, they will stop hitting and destroying pets and plants around the house.
Words Are Not Enough
But some times for the sake of safety, parents must ignore all of the positive parenting tips mentioned above. When you find your child is in the range of danger, then even words in a regular voice aren’t enough to stop them. Conveying a sense of urgency is essential using facial expressions, body language, and even an alarming tone of voice. The child should know from your emotions straight away that something is profoundly wrong and at the same time child should be taken away from the danger zone, for example, Electric Iron or power sockets urgently.
To raise smart kids in this era, parents must understand the need of the hour and use methods that their kids will follow quickly, and parents can instill positive behavior without saying NO or use of any negative language. We have tried to discuss the basics on the topic in a concise manner that are emphasized upon in all popular posts in scholarly websites these days to help the parents cope up with modern studies.