Alternatives to “No”

Kids tend to dig in their heels if they hear the word ’no’ all the time, so you’ll want to come up with all kinds of creative ways to steer clear of the dreaded word.  Instead of telling your child what not to do (No jumping on the bed), tell him what to do (Jump on the floor). Not only does this technique allow you to avoid saying ‘no’, but it also increases the impact of your message by giving your child a specific action to follow.”
-Ann Douglas author of The Mother of all Parenting Books: The Ultimate Guide to Raising a Happy, Healthy Child from Preschool through the Preteens

Other examples of Alternatives to NO:
Child:   Can I eat the candy Aunt Franny gave me for Valentine’s Day? 
 Parent: Yes, after dinner.

And for older children:
Child:    Mom, can I stay over at Tom’s house tonight?
Parent: Hmm, let me think it over and I’ll let you know. 

This doesn’t mean you can never say no; of course you can.  But a steady diet of ‘no’ may make our kids tune us out or perhaps carry out the behavior without asking because they expect a ‘no’  is coming.
There are alternatives to ‘no’ that still allow us to protect, set limits, reinforce rules, or stop unwanted behavior.  Be inventive. Stop yourself before you say ’no’ and try to think of ways to put a positive spin on a negative word.

by Claire Gawinowicz
Certified Parenting Educator

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