Ten Great Tips…. to Avoid Saying “No!”
Too much reliance on saying “No” in everyday situations can result in an angry
child, a frustrated adult and little change in behavior. Happily, there are
many positive ways to intervene without saying “No”.
Figuring out why your child is misbehaving will help you determine what to do
about it. Consider these common triggers for misbehavior – and their
Is she having trouble controlling herself? When kids have
not yet developed the self control they need, these strategies can help them
stay out of trouble:
- Create a “Yes! Zone.” Provide a space for active play.
Remove precious breakables, clutter and expensive furniture from this play
- Stay nearby. Just having an adult close at hand is
sometimes all that is needed to help children make good choices.
- Provide clear consistent limits. Be specific about what
your children may and may not do. State the rules clearly and enforce them
consistently. “You may jump on the trampoline but not on the couch,” is much
more helpful to your child than “Remember to be good!”
- Is he having difficulty coping with his feelings? It takes
support and practice for children to learn to cope with feelings of anger,
jealousy and frustration. It won’t help to respond with anger and consequences
when your child is overwhelmed with his emotions. Instead, try a positive
- Provide extra help. Tough homework assignments, a sister’s
birthday party, and playing first base in the next game can all create emotional
turmoil for your child. Anticipate difficult situations and provide support to
help your child manage his emotions.
- Help him say how he is feeling. “That math is really
frustrating!” “It sure is tough to watch your sister get all the presents!”
Statements like these help your child feel understood and show him how to put
feelings into words.
- Is she acting out because something bad has
happened? Slow her down for a moment. Get
down on her level, make eye contact, and ask if something has happened to upset
- Limit any aggressive or destructive behavior. Reject the
behavior, but never the child!
- Does he need your
attention? When children repeat behaviors that annoy adults, it’s
often their way of saying, “I need you to pay attention to me!” Attention is
like oxygen for children; they need it in order to be emotionally healthy.
Sometimes children can eliminate irritating behaviors simply by being given
ample opportunity for positive attention.
- Announce opportunities for having your full attention. “I
need you to play quietly for a few minutes; then we can read a book together.”
Start with small amounts of time, using an egg timer if this visual cue is
helpful to you child. Do not provide the promised
one-on-one time unless he follows through with the quiet time.
Do express appreciation and explain that his playing
quietly allowed you to finish your work so that you can read with him. Then
make good on your promise promptly, even if it means interrupting your child
from quiet activity.
- Ignore behavior that is not dangerous or destructive.
Withdraw your attention from your child and his behavior until he stops.
- Choose a time when your child is behaving well and offer special
attention. Play a game, take a walk, or sit and talk. Extra doses of
affection make your child feel loved and valued – and that helps him gain both
self esteem and self control.
Above all, try to remember those things that make each child special. Praise
your children often and carry your sense of humor with you!
©2008 Beech Acres Parenting Center; www.beechacres.org