As a parent of a curious 3 year old child, your day is filled with providing love and guidance. Some days however, it may feel like you spend the majority of your day saying “no” to your child. Although saying “no” is a necessary part of parenting, it can make you feel like the ‘bad guy’ at times. There are ways that you can avoid this and say “yes” more often with the same outcome.
Your Child’s Development
At 43 months of age, your child may seem to want everything he can't have and it can feel like you say “no” to him a million times each day. This can wear on a parent and can make you wonder what the effect of always having to hear the word “no” does to your child. Using positive parenting can help you change the ‘no’ to a ‘yes’ while still achieving the same goal.
Positive parenting requires some creative thinking on your part. You must also be able to anticipate and recognise the difficult moments when parenting skills are put to their greatest challenge. You know the scene well. You are putting your child to bed at night. You go through your usual routine of putting on his pajamas, brushing his teeth, and settling in to his bed to read a book. As you are getting to the end of the story, you can sense that he is not going down easy tonight. You finish the story, tuck him in and kiss him goodnight. As you leave the room, you hear him getting out of his bed and saying, “Mum, I want another story”. Your immediate reaction is to say, “No, you have to go to sleep now.” This is an opportunity to use positive parenting. Instead of saying “no”, try to think of a way that you can use the word “yes” and still get the same end result.
A positive response to this scenario could be, “Yes honey, when you wake up in the morning, I will read another story to you.” This response tells your child that you have acknowledged his request but are in no way giving into his demands. In turn, your child feels heard and understood and is more likely to be receptive to your statement.
Here’s another example: Your child wants sweets before eating breakfast. Of course, this would automatically bring the word “no” from any parent’s lips. But, stop and think about how you can turn this negative into a positive while not changing the meaning and not giving in. Is it possible to tell your child that he can have a sweet later in the day? If so, a good response could be, “Well, you have to eat your breakfast now, and then later today, after we have our lunch, you can have that piece of candy.”
Naturally, you cannot always say “yes” to your child. Especially when they are doing something dangerous or behaving so badly that a strong meaningful ‘no’ is necessary to get your point across. It’s also difficult to remember to stop and think about this every time you are faced with a discipline issues. So, don’t beat yourself up when you forget. The point is to be positive when you can while still being effective.