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5 Ways To Say “No” Without Discouraging Your Child

Posted by Denise Lee on August 13, 2017

Every parent-child relationship is unique in its own way. Often, parents adopt a combination of methods to discipline their child and communicate with. 

As a parent, you may find yourself in situations where you have to say “No” — and that’s okay! Here are 5 ways you can say no to your child without just saying “No”.

1. Explaining The Importance of Waiting

Children do not always have the same grasp of time as adults do. It is difficult for them to understand the sequence of a day's events if it is not explained to them.

When your child asks for something or to go somewhere that does not fit the day's schedule, try telling your child "Not right now” or “Not today”. You can also give a short explanation — “Today, we are going to Grandma’s house” or “Right now, we are [...]”.

2. Putting Safety First

Whether is an afternoon in the park or a day in an indoor playground, your child’s safety is your top priority. Children often focus on elements of fun and are not able to assess their surroundings for potential sources of harm as well as adults can.  

If, as a parent, you see your child doing something that could potentially harm his or her well-being, instead of saying no, share your concerns with your child and explain the consequences to your child clearly. For example, you might say, “You shouldn't run here because it is dangerous and I don't want you to get hurt.”

3. Thinking of Others

For a young child, sharing may be a concept that he or she struggles with. Whether it's sharing food with a sibling or sharing stationery with a classmate, it is important to this trait in your child from an early age.

One way you can do this is to explain to your child how his or her behaviour can affect others. This way, your child can learn to be more observant about the people around him or her. For example, you can tell your child “We don’t grab things, We should let her/him have a turn first” or Let’s share”.

Read more: Rest Easy — Why Sleep Affects Learning

4. 

Standing Your Ground

Children learn by asking questions and ‘testing’ boundaries. At times, you may find that your saying no needs no further explanation. Being firm with your child when you need to can affirm your authority as the adult in the relationship. Of course, each parent has the prerogative to decide how best to manage his or her child.

5. Showing You Understand

Empathising with your child is an important way to build a strong bond with him or her. At times, children feel overwhelmed by the intensity of their emotions — letting your child know that you are thinking of his or her feelings can go a long way. When you have to tell your child no, try adding in a short phrase like “I know you really want to try [this activity]  let's plan to do it next weekend okay?”.

Parenting is probably one of the world’s toughest jobs. No matter which way you choose to say no to your child, BEING ABLE TO COMMUNICATE CLEARLY AT YOUR CHILD’S LEVEL can have a positive impact on your parent-child relationship.  

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Were these tips useful for you?
If you have other methods of saying no when you need to, share with us your secrets in the comment box below! 

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