3 Ways to Say “No” Without Saying “No”

Children don’t like being told what to do. They are curious explorers, constantly testing their limits and pushing their boundaries. When they are told “no”, they may feel defensive, upset, and defiant. As a parent, you want to help your child understand what they can and cannot do, or should and shouldn’t do. But sometimes, it feels like a challenge.

There are many alternatives to say “no” to your child without really saying “no”. Having numerous ways to discipline, deny, or defer your child will help them also understand why. It is a popular belief that telling your child “no” on a regular basis will result in rebellion and deficiency as they grow.

Using clear and simple statements to help your child understand will help avoid the fussy drama. Toddlers need to be guided by their parents to develop a greater understanding in time, empathy for others, self awareness, and more. The more you support your toddler in understanding right from wrong, the easier it will be for them to make the right decision!

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Child therapy in Simi Valley, Ca, often involves play therapy so that your child can feel relaxed in sessions. 

3 Ways to Say “No” Without Saying “No”: Explain the situation to help them understand

Oftentimes, it could be that your child cannot understand the foreseeable consequences of their actions. That could look like wanting to eat too many sweets, and not understanding that they may end up with a tummy ache. If they are complaining and want one more bite of ice cream, you can say, for example, “The ice cream is delicious, right? But, you don’t want to get sick. Eating too much ice cream will make your tummy hurt.”

Maybe when they feel fussy, they swing their arms and hit people or objects. You don’t want them to engage in this behavior at all, and want them to understand that it’s wrong. You can say, “I know you are frustrated, but hitting me/hitting someone else does not help. You will end up just hurting me/someone else, and we will not understand what you need. This is why you have to use your words, not your hands.”

You can explain how your child probably wouldn’t want these things to happen to them. They wouldn’t want to suffer with a tummy ache, or have someone hit them when they want attention, right?

When they are emotional and unable to construct their feelings into words, help them take it slow. Maybe they are in the midst of a tantrum, crying and talking incoherently. Help them understand that you need to hear their feelings in their regular voice.

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Child therapy in Simi Valley, Ca, helps provide your child with positive ways to express themselves.

3 Ways to Say “No” Without Saying “No”: Offer choices

Kids like to feel in control of their own destiny. They want to be able to make their own choices and decisions. When they do not have that ability, they may feel frustrated and upset. This can lead to having temper tantrums due to not getting their way. 

A great way to help them still feel in control is to offer them choices. This way, they will still be able to have a say in decisions. You may notice that when they don’t get their way, they become upset and defiant. Click here to read about how you can help your child express their emotions without tantruming!

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Here are some examples of ways to offer choices to them:

I know you want to stay home and watch that movie, but we need to leave the house soon. Do you want to wear your red shoes or your yellow shoes today?

I understand that you are wanting ice cream for dinner tonight, but that’s not healthy for you. Do you want a popsicle now, or ice cream after dinner?

Maybe your child is eager to hold your phone or electronic device for you. These days, there are lots of entertainment options on phones, whether it be silly games or videos for them to watch. Maybe they are refusing to give it back to you. You could ask them to trade objects, saying, “Can I have my phone, and I will give this toy to you?”. 

Click here to read about how you can support your child in returning to in-person learning!

Child therapy in Simi Valley, Ca, provides YOU (the parent!) with support in communicating and working with your child.

3 Ways to Say “No” Without Saying “No”: Redirect their behavior

Maybe your child has some destructive tendencies. If they enjoy throwing things around, such as their food or snacks onto the floor, this can be especially stressful for you. Maybe they enjoy ripping flowers or plants out of the ground. They may play too rough and not realize that their behaviors are not okay. 

Redirecting their behavior shows them the new alternative way to play and explore. It also helps them with regulating their own behaviors and impulses to know there are other ways to go about expressing themselves.

An example of redirecting their behavior could look like when they are petting a dog, and they get kind of rough with it. Smacking the dog’s head, pulling on the dog’s tail, etc. In this case, you can gently guide their hand along the dog to gently pet it. Talk them through it by saying, “The best way to touch the dog is like this, being gentle, and petting him, not pulling or hurting him. The dog told me that it hurts him.”

Click here to read about tips for being more patient with your kids!

Another way to redirect behavior could be if they are being messy with their arts and crafts. It could be that they are drawing erratically or splashing water colors all over the place. Rather than getting upset and yelling at them “No!”, remain calm. Show them that instead of how they are crafting, they can craft in this much cleaner, organized way.

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At the end of it all, seeking out support with a child psychologist is a great idea. Child therapists are able to find ways to not only support your child, but support you as well! They have coping mechanisms, strategies, and skills readily available to provide you with. In order to make changes in a child’s behavior, the child therapist will look at your parenting techniques and see where you could benefit from different strategies.

Remember parents, parenting isn’t easy! Seeking out support is okay, and you deserve it!

Consult with a child psychologist today about the best course of action for you and your child.

Click here to read about what a child psychologist does in therapy!

More about Simi Psychological Group:

We are a  team of psychologists and therapists in Simi Valley, Ca offering an array of therapy services. 

At our therapy practice in Simi Valley, Ca we offer Child therapy and family counseling, Teen therapy, Anxiety Treatment, Depression Therapy, Marriage Counseling, and Neuropsychological Testing. Now Offering Online Therapy in Los Angeles and Online Counseling Ventura County