Parenting children: when “NO” doesn’t work

How to train your dog. Parenting children: when “NO” doesn’t work. *

I am expecting a little bundle of joy to finally call my own—a dog that is. In light of this very exciting event, I have been endlessly reading books about what to do/ not do when training a puppy.  My most recent literature endeavor has been about the power of positive dog training. The premise of this book is to set your puppy up for success rather than failure. Now, before you leave me because you did not come here to learn how to train a puppy, I urge you to continue as this premise can inevitably relate to parenting. *

Parenting children: when “NO” doesn’t work.

Why “NO!” doesn’t work

I have received many inquiries from parents about what to do when “NO!” doesn’t work. They say they have tried saying/shouting it numerous times, but the result is always the same, a backlash of uncontrollable behaviour, outbursts, opposition and/or manipulation. These children who are immune to the word “No” all seemingly have one very important thing in common; a curious mind.

A curious mind will not take lightly to a simple, black and white, “No”. They will want to know why and if you’re not going to tell them why, you are sure to bet they are going to figure it out for themselves (despite consequences).

Saying “No” over and over again instills one unfortunate belief in these youngsters; that they are failures. If this is the way they are frequently greeted, they begin to internalize such an identity.

Alternatives to “NO!”

Instead of saying “No” to their curious minds,

  • offer reasons as to why “we don’t do this/that”,
  • offer better ways to do this/that, say “that’s not quite it, let’s try it this way.”
  • Make it a learning experience for them and for you.

As our children begin to perceive accomplishment more than failure, our rewarding compliment may differ a touch. Yours may be somewhat different than my choice of “Who’s a good boy?”

*rest assured, my therapy training did not come from a dog manual!

Call 416-531-0727 to work with Maryn Hanmer

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