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Why your child takes your ‘No’ for a ‘Yes’ (and what to do about it)

Here is how to say 'no' to your child without saying it.

Written by Debjani Arora |Updated : September 1, 2015 9:53 PM IST

Sometimes it is difficult to figure out whether your child is under your control or vice versa. Most of the time it s you who caves in to your child s whims and fancies than your child following your instructions.

Do these situations seem familiar:

Situation 1:

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You: Baby. No. Stop. Don t run on the wet floor.

Your baby: Runs, spins, falls and cries

Situation 2:

You: Baby. No. Don t touch the hot kettle!

Your baby: Touches, gets hurt and cries out loud

Situation 3:

You: Baby. No. Don t make a mess with your food.

Your child: Smashes the food, spills it around, makes a face and refuses to touch it

If these situations are common in your day-to-day life, you might be thinking your no has no power or importance in your child s life. Here are few ways in which you can control your child s temper tantrums.

Well, whether you like it or not, your no actually has no significance to your little one. For toddlers and young children the world at large is a huge ground for exploration, learning and experimentation. Moreover, they were not born with the word no in their vocabulary. It is you who uses it and probably not always in the right way, says Freyaz Shroff, parenting counsellor and life coach, Mumbai. Here are 10 ways to help your child become a better human being.

In fact, most of the time your child refuses to obey to your no because she is unaware of its consequences and its deep meaning. With her little actions, she also tries to explore what a no from you can do to her. Here are simple ways to find out if your child is lying to you.

How to say no to your child without saying it

Sometimes you don t want your child to take certain actions, portray certain behaviours or do certain things, which is definitely out of your love and concern. But that one negative word isn t enough to express your love and warmth. It isn t enough for your child to understand that you are trying to teach her the good from the bad. So here are few things you can do to say no to your child without saying it:

Don t say no : Saying no for every little action your child does will make her do the opposite time and again. Not because she feels good making you angry or irritated, but because doing the opposite gives her enough room to experiment with the boundaries and limits that come along with the word. This might make you lose your temper and cool but for your child doing the opposite of your no is a learning experience. In absence of logical reasoning doing the opposite is the only way she learns the importance of no. Her take home lesson might not always be a positive one because of your actions that follow (spanking, scolding, shouting), so stop saying no.

Try investing parenting rather than snapshot parenting: Here comes the trick. If you have to limit your 'nos' you have to spend time giving logical reasons and justify the implied action. Remember, young children, have not developed the logical reasoning skills like adults. They learn more through actions than with words. So, for instance, if you want your child not to touch a hot kettle, make her touch it when it is just warm enough. Then explain that if a warm kettle can make you feel hot, what a hot kettle can do to your fingers, says Freyaz. This is investment parenting as opposed to snapshot parenting, which demands time and patience. Of course, this isn t easy but is the only way you can explain the importance of your no to your child. Here are five things you should never do to punish your child.

Sit and talk: If your attempts to make your child understand through actions and logical reasoning have failed miserably, try to communicate in a different way. Spending one hour of quality time with your child every week can do the magic. Reserve this time for one-on-one interactions without the interference of the phone, computer or iPad. Revisit the high and low points of your child s life during the week, the challenges she faced or the moments that made her happy and gloomy. Listen more to your child than just preaching. You can also do this with your 2-year-old, says Freyaz. Ideally, if each parent can spend time individually with the kid, it can work wonders. Smooth communication is the key to helping your child take your nos' more seriously and understand its consequences. Read to know if you are spending enough time with your child.

Avoid impulsive punishments: Spanking, scolding, cussing will never make things easy for you or your child. Instead, they can have an opposite effect. It can make your child a rebel, aggressive or one who grows up with a behavioural problem. Children emulate your behaviour so it is better you set an example of how you react to your no . It is fine at times to cut down on your expectations and also the consequences or punishments you have set up when your child disobeys you. There are times when harsh punishments don t work, says Freyaz. So be patient, helping your child understand why your no means a no is an ongoing process, so don t look for on-the-spot results.

Image source: Getty Images


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