The N-O word. It’s polarizing for some parents! Whatever your feelings on the word itself, here are some reasons why it’s important to impart the message of ‘No’ and to feel good about doing so.
First of all, your child looks to you for guidance while learning to navigate the world. By clearly and kindly giving them the message of “yes” or “no” to answer their many questions, you help them understand what is acceptable. For example, “Is it ok to hit someone when I am mad?” No, it’s not OK. But then, go on to explain!
“When you are mad, it’s ok to take a deep breath. It’s ok to cry. It’s ok to find a quiet place to calm yourself down. And it’s ok to tell someone why you are mad.”
If you never imparted the message that it’s not ok to hit when you’re mad, your child might have a hard time knowing the appropriate outlets for their feelings.
Next, rather than saying ‘No’ immediately as a reaction to a question from your child, try flipping the question on them to practice critical thinking skills. “Can I have this chocolate bar for breakfast?”
You could respond, “No!” and leave it at that. Or you could try asking your child, “Is that chocolate bar a nutritious food that will give your body energy all day long?” Or perhaps, “We don’t eat chocolate for breakfast, do you remember what foods we typically eat for breakfast?”
Lastly, remember that it’s ok to say “No.” Rather than shielding your child, communicate a firm but kind and thoughtful “No” and help your child learn to respond to it with grace and creativity.
“No” can be a learning moment if you want it to be!
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