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Say Yes to Say No

Say Yes to Say No

As a new parent, I was likely to say NO for a lot of things.

"No, you cannot do that"

"No, you cannot eat that."

"No, that isn't possible."

Then, after I lost my patience, just “No”.

You see, I had thought that saying YES might spoil a child.

Then I learnt the art of saying No in a way that was OK with the child. It was simple.

To say a NO, you say a YES. "Yes, But..."

Amma, can I please eat icecream?

Yes, you can, later this week. Not today, since we just had icecream yesterday.

Amma, can you please buy me playdoh?

Yes, we can. I don’t have money right now, so could we put it on your birthday wishlist instead, if you want something smaller this year? (Child said No)

You see what I just did there?

So what changes when I say yes?

  • Your child feels that he has control in the process of decision making. – When you reason with the child, the child knows you are not exercising autonomy as a parent, but making the child a participant in your decision. This way, the child feels heard.
  • Developing decision making skills – When you give the child options, the child gets the idea that he is in control. Even if he makes a poor choice, he learns to live with it. It is easier to cope with bad decisions as a child, than as an adult surely.
  • Your relationship with your child is better – Your child looks up to you to as a partner in his life, rather than as an impediment, which happens when you keep saying no. By saying Yes, you are removing resentment from the parent-child equation.
  • Taking Responsibility – When you let your child make choices, he takes onus for the consequences of those decisions. So, instead of a spoiled child, you are actually nurturing a child who takes responsibility for the outcomes of his decisions, good or bad.
  • Creating a positive parenting experience – This strategy is effective as a positive parenting tool because you and your child have determined the consequences of any behavior beforehand, and you have removed yourself out of the equation of decision making.

So, say Yes, as much as possible. Until, life threatening. Even then, give them a reason why you are saying No.

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