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Positive parenting: Taming the No! monster

Jen Klein is a New England-based technical writer and mother of three. When she isn't asking her kids to stop bickering, "caramelizing" the dinner or actively ignoring the dust bunnies under the couch, she enjoys knitting, gardening, pho...

Turn a No! day into a Yes! day

Are there days as a parent that it seems like all you say all day long is, NO? No, you can't have ice cream before dinner. No, we cannot get another dog. No, you cannot get every kind of paint out of the crafts drawer. No this. No that. No. No. No. I am a veritable "No! monster." Isn't it a joke in a movie? After a series of questions in which the character answers, "No," there is one more question: "Do you always say 'No'?" The answer, of course, is, "No."

Mom Saying NoThere are days I long to say, "Yes!" While the ability to say "No" to ones children is important, so, I think, is the ability to say "Yes" - in an appropriate way. Finding ways to say "Yes" in an otherwise "No" kind of a day is the ability to turn a day around.

Why is it a "No" day?

Days that the No monster in me comes out tend not be good days to begin with. One or all of us is stressed for one reason or another. We're often tired and snappy. The negativity rubs off on the rest of the family - and the "Nos" begin because we just are too tired or too stressed to think about the right response. Sometimes we don't even realize it's one of those days and the No monster sneaks up on you.Days in which the kids seem to bombard you with questions they "know" will get a "No" response, and you keep saying "No," and they keep asking, are those vicious cycle days. When the stresses rub off on the kids - and they do sense it - they reach out to us for reassurance the only way they know how: looking for your attention and your time in any way possible. Having ice cream before dinner, after all, would turn the attention to something quite positive - in their eyes - ice cream and them. And dogs are just so cute. Maybe your child wants to paint you a picture?

Making it a "Yes!" day

Turning a day around doesn't take a lot. You don't have to give in to the ice cream request, but maybe you could ask your child to help with making dinner? Could your child get out just one or two of the paints? Would that be so bad? You can still say no to the real dog - but maybe you and your child could paint a picture of a dog.Turning a day "No" monster day into a "Yes" fairy day is about creating constructive solutions - not about lax discipline. The No monster visits everyone at some point or another. Turning the No monster into the Yes fairy is mostly about recognizing the negativity hanging in the air and making the conscious effort to turn it around. It can be done!

Tell us: How do you tame the NO monster? Comment below!

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