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Not saying ‘no’ to children.

(67 Posts)
Daddima Tue 21-May-19 13:50:08

Many times I’ve heard it said that a child hears the word ‘no’ ( or don’t, or stop it) around 300 times a day, and rather than say ‘ No, you can’t have a biscuit’, try ‘ Yes, of course, you can have one after dinner’.

I notice that when Supernanny makes house rules they are very often of the ‘No’ variety, while the courses I ran advocated telling children what to do, rather than what not to do.

What do you think?

Urmstongran Tue 21-May-19 14:09:40

Always try to say ‘yes’ unless of course it’s to keep them safe!

knickas63 Tue 21-May-19 14:13:18

I have to say - no is a seldom used word in my house! I do agree with positive reinforcement if possible. My lot (myself included) have rather opositional personalities! 'NO' has always been a challenge! I learnt to work around it.

LullyDully Tue 21-May-19 14:15:57

I agree , but I have a very strong willed grandson of 3. If he is about to do something dangerous and immediate then. "NO!!!!!" just slips out. I know it shouldn't but " Come on Sweetie you know that glass will break and cut you" isn't as instinctive.

A true story sadly.

Grammaretto Tue 21-May-19 14:23:56

I agree it's definitely something to consider, though we don't always manage to.
What I dislike is when parents ask their children what they would like to do rather than telling them what activity or meal is planned.
I feel a small child doesn't have the experience to know what choice to make. That is an adult's job.

Day6 Tue 21-May-19 14:41:42

Why is "NO" a bad word to use?

A liberal construct?

Of course parents should try to encourage their children to see the rights and wrongs of situations for themselves but to learn at a young age that you cannot have everything go your way and there are restrictions is a good thing.

Later on when they have been lead to believe they can 'do anything they want' they might not be able to process that the world doesn't work like that, unfortunately.

A firm 'no' should be in every parents vocabulary. For one thing it would do away with the need for a thirty minute cajoling and philosophy session that follows (haven't we all witnessed it?) when poor little three year old Lucius-Fortnum-Mason cannot have every single thing that catches his eye in the supermarket.

You can tart 'no' up in any way you want, but children do need to know that their whims can be denied in the quick and firm negative response.

They won't be damaged for life. If anything, they'll be more resilient and realistic as they grow.

Sara65 Tue 21-May-19 14:41:52

I can’t honestly see a problem, children need to know that they can’t have/do/eat everything they like. Unfortunately it’s a lesson they need to learn.

Eglantine21 Tue 21-May-19 14:54:31

Oh, I just said “No” to a runaway 3/4 year old in Wilko who was systematically running his finger down and splitting the central plastic of every toilet roll on the shelf.

It just popped outof my mouth🤭

Daddima Tue 21-May-19 15:06:58

Day6, a child would still get the message that the parent is in charge if , say, ‘ I want that toy’ is answered with something like, “ you could save up for it”, or, “ maybe Santa will bring one”. I also think everybody knows that if the child is swinging an axe at the baby’s head, we won’t be stopping to phrase the instruction positively!
With consistency on the adult’s part ( e.g. when the child does get a biscuit after dinner), they’ll learn to trust you.

Day6 Tue 21-May-19 15:07:35

Heh heh Eglantine

And you haven't felt the need to wash your mouth out with soap and water either, I bet.grin

Well done.

Anniebach Tue 21-May-19 15:18:49

What harm does ‘no’ do to child ?

Day6 Tue 21-May-19 15:20:07

Day6, a child would still get the message that the parent is in charge if , say, ‘ I want that toy’ is answered with something like, “ you could save up for it”, or, “ maybe Santa will bring one”.

You misunderstand me. I have I hope, parented with kindness and would use the examples you have mentioned.

But there are times when "No, not now" or "No. Don't do that" suffice. Haven't most of us used the 'no look' too - one that says "Do not defy me"?

Parents have to be in charge, like it or not.

I think the word 'no' also comes with children learning there are boundaries. And sometimes we do not need to launch into an explanatory reason for our "no" response.

Parents make the rules, (oh, dirty word) not only for the safety of their children, but also for their well being and their emotional growth.

When children are older they appreciate why 'no' means no - without any psychological damage being inflicted. I am a firm believer in that the foundations for right and wrong, goodness and compassion, etc, are taught and learnt at "a mother's knee."

"No" does not mean that children live in a draconian household always feeling thwarted and deprived, does it?

We can overthink these things. hmm


I have gone through life not expecting an explanantion

Day6 Tue 21-May-19 15:21:11

Ooops, last sentence not needed.

Day6 Tue 21-May-19 15:27:24

With consistency on the adult’s part ( e.g. when the child does get a biscuit after dinner), they’ll learn to trust you

I am sorry but I do think this thread could easily turn into a load of b****cks.

Children tend to trust adults whatever...even abused ones look to their adult as their guide if that's all they know.

My children trusted a loving, caring mother who told them 'no' frequently. To this day they trust me.

Please spare us the 'parents are unknowing ogres' advice because they use the word 'no' to their children.

Most of us adore our offspring, love them dearly and want the very best for them. In my book, their knowing what 'no' meant at an early age was a positive learning experience.

Whitewavemark2 Tue 21-May-19 15:37:41

You simply can’t generalise. It depends on the age of the child and whether you want to avoid an argument which means that you will use different and cleverer tactics. It pays to be one step ahead. I’m not an authoritarian by nature so constant use of the word no was not my choice .

M0nica Tue 21-May-19 15:39:15

A lot of fuss about nothing, 'no' is just one of many words we use to children in hundred's of different situations among hundredsof different words.

If 'no' is the only or main word used by a parent there is a problem well beyond the use of the word.

But look at it this way, we have a constant dribble of posts from parents who have always said 'yes' to their children and never said 'no' and most of them of have really big problems with their selfish, self centred cuckoos who live off them and will not leave the nest.

Everything in proportion.

Whitewavemark2 Tue 21-May-19 15:46:47

monica I do agree. Of course I used the word no, but not as a matter of course or first choice if the situation allowed for my offspring doing what I wanted without confrontation. Calm and peace doth reign😄😄Always preferable.

sharon103 Tue 21-May-19 15:48:06

Quite agree MOnica. My three were always told no and it hasn't done them any harm.

HildaW Tue 21-May-19 15:55:52

There is a place for 'No'. However its to be used sparingly and when used is not open to negotiation. 'No' should mean 'No' and the sooner a child learns that the better.
The repeat 'No' problem is when parents have used it often but then been 'persuaded' to change. The child quickly learns that 'No' does not really mean no if they (a) sulk (b) moan (c) argue.....you get my drift.
There is no harm in a child learning the 'No' concept - life has a few non negotiable barriers to cope with. Some roads are too dangerous to cross, some jobs will not fall in your lap and some exams do have to be passed.
Yes, children need to learn that trying hard at life is a good thing but sometimes No just means No and if they have not learnt that lesson early in life then its very difficult to learn it at a later stage.

B9exchange Tue 21-May-19 15:56:48

'No' is used a lot in our house, but in response to our Siamese cats scaling the curtains, eating the flowers (and throwing up as a result) twanging the blinds guide wires with their teeth, jumping up and sliding down the entire length of a door with the claws out , I could go on. Try reasoning with a Siamese! (And they do have ample toys, floor to ceiling cat trees, scratching posts and a lot of attention!)

GC say I am the strictest in the family, but that I will never break a promise or a threat, and they send me wonderful loving messages I am sure I haven't deserved, so I must be doing something right!

Sara65 Tue 21-May-19 16:10:56

I too agree Monica

watermeadow Tue 21-May-19 20:12:35

As the frazzled parent of four children, close in age, I once realised that I was saying No far too often. I resolved to only say No when it was necessary.
One of my daughters has brought up her children (and the dog) without ever saying No. I admire her saintliness but neither kids nor dog are angelic!

Sara65 Tue 21-May-19 20:26:58

One of my daughters is of the opinion that her children make their own choices about things, only do what they want to do and when
This gives them a very selfish attitude, by doing exactly what they want, they are often letting down or hurting other people
They’re lovely children, but I feel they should be a little more aware of their actions having consequences

sodapop Tue 21-May-19 20:29:35

I agree with the positive reinforcement idea but there are times when 'no' is definitely needed. Children need boundaries and life will not always be a 'yes' situation.

mcem Tue 21-May-19 20:34:22

I suggest that children should be familiar with the word before starting school and also the concept that can't always have/do what they want!