Three tools that will change parenting forever! Read the first tool here
Three Tools Every Parent Needs
Learn the top three tools to communicating better with your kids!
Do you want obedient children? Are you struggling to keep your home or classroom calm? Is your relationship with your child tense? You’re not alone! So many parents and teachers find that keeping the peace while having obedient children is a battle. But the battle can end with a child-centered, mindful approach. These tools that I’m sharing with you are evidence-based and will help you to communicate better with your kids!
Tool #1: Replacing the word “no”
One of the very first tools I teach clients is to learn how to replace the word “no”. It may come as a surprise to some, but this can be a powerful tool for gaining rapport with your kids and keeping the peace in your home. While boundaries and rules are important, it is also so important to be mindful of our words and to teach these skills to our children as well.
So what’s wrong with the word no?
1. It quickly becomes our “fall back” answer.
The word no easily becomes a fall back when we can’t be “bothered”. Consider a situation when you’ve finally sat down after a long day. You’re comfortable, your cuddled up in your blanket, and you child asks for a glass of milk. It’s so much easier to say no than it is to say yes because that would entail getting back up, getting the glass, pouring the milk, making sure they don’t spill the milk, and so on. Are you saying no because they really cannot have a glass of milk? Or is it because you don’t want to get them a glass of milk? So next time you want to say no, be mindful of your answer. Are you saying no because that is the real answer, or is it because you can’t be bothered?
2. The brain is wired to resist the word no.
It’s also important to understand what the word no does in our brains. Here comes that evidence-based information! When we hear the word no, the mid-brain recognizes it as a stressor. A stressor basically interrupts the expectation of the brain. For example, if you’re heading to work and get stuck in an unexpected traffic jam, you start to worry about being late. Your expectation of being on time for work was interrupted, so now you’re stressed. That stressor in your brain sends a signal to the fight-or-flight area of your brain and tells it to resist whatever is going on.
So you can see, now, that resisting the word no is not intentional. When your child gets angry after hearing no, they’re not being a bad kid or a brat. They’re simply behaving in exactly the same way the brain is supposed to.
3. The word no evokes immediate disconnection.
This doesn’t just happen with kids. We do this as adults, too. When someone says no, we feel an immediate disconnection from them. So when kids and adults alike feel disconnected from someone, we tend to listen less. Kids will be less likely to be obedient the first time we ask them to do something.
4. The word no breaks down your alliance with your child
As soon as you say no, you become the bad guy. They don’t see you as an ally, they see you as the person who just said no. We’re the one who interrupted their expectation and caused a stressor.
What happens when you start replacing the word no?
1. You’ll remain your child’s ally
You don’t have to be the bad guy to be a parent! When you and your child are on the same side, you’ll find a calmer, more peaceful home.
2. You’ll avoid stressors for both your child and yourself
It is a common misconception that children need stressors to learn and develop. Stressors are going to happen on their own, so why add onto it and create even more?
3. You’ll support your child’s development
By being more engaged with your child, you’re going to be teaching them introductory self-regulation, reasoning, and social adaptiveness skills. You’re going to be helping them make those first steps into the bigger world.
It would be nearly impossible to completely rid your life of the word “no”. It’s true, you have to say no sometimes. So there is no need to stress “not saying no” all of the time. Only monitoring your language sometimes is just as effective. Simply be mindful of your responses to your children. Adjust your tone of voice and language to avoid unnecessary stressors.
Your behaviour guide and coach, Stephanie Wicker-Campbell, has been supporting families just like yours for almost fifteen years! Teaching special needs children and studying early intensive behaviour intervention for over six years laid the foundation for her work with Simply Kids. Grounded in behaviour science, Stephanie's passion for counselling and developmental psychology play a big role in her coaching programs. Defining success by the progress of her clients, her goal is to no longer be needed. So, get in touch and work her out of a job!