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Ways to Say “No” Without Actually Saying It

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Tell Your Children "No" Without Having To Say It

I am sure some researcher has the exact number of times the average kid hears the word “no” in a day, but suffice it to say, it’s plenty!*

Kids become immune to hearing “No.”  And kids start to repeat what they hear when they say “no!” back to us. Oh how quickly our children learn that the person who can say “NO” is the person who holds all the power!

You will find that if you minimize the number of times you say “no,” your child is more likely to be cooperative.   Here are some ways to skirt that nasty word and still control the social order of your household:

  • That’s not an option
  • I am unwilling…..
  • Say it in a funny way, ie. “Never in a gazillion billion years!”
  • Sing, “No no no!”
  • That’s not appropriate.
  • For a younger child, say nothing and use distraction instead.
  • Ask: “What do you think?” “Is this a good choice for you?”  (Make sure you are willing to abide by his/her answer!)
  • With a youngster that has something you don’t want him to have:  “That is not a toy.”
  • Ask, “What are your other options?”
  • “No, but I would be wiling to… “
  • “I appreciate your asking, however…”
  • “Walls are not for coloring, Here is a piece of paper.”
  • Tell them what to do instead, i.e., “Water needs to stay in the tub.”
  • “This is not negotiable.”

Print this off and stick it on your fridge.  We all need some crib notes to get through parenting! These gems come from my Adlerian colleague and mentor Jane Nelson of Positive Parenting, and she has a vibrant community at www.positivediscipline.com that you should check out.  Similarly, but not to be confused with, there is also a branch of psychology called Positive Psychology founded by Martin Seligman, that I love, that also has robust research on its’ approach to parenting which are very compatible and complimentary to Adlerian parenting approaches.  You should check out their work too!

*I understand that UCLA did some research that brought it in at about 400 times a day, but I have not found the primary source yet.

About Alyson

Alyson has been blogging parenting advice for over 15 years. She has been a panelist at BlogWest, Blissdom, #140NYC and more. Her content appears on sites across Canada and the US, but you can read all her own blog posts right here.

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