Delivering Discipline - Connection During Confrontation
Module three : Lesson three
Have you ever noticed how often you are saying no to your kids? No, you can't jump on the couch. No, you can't have ice cream for breakfast. No, we can't go to the park. We say a lot of nos. I think that this is an important thing to monitor because every time we say no, we are actually inflicting a stressor on that child's brain. Now, of course we do want children to be able to cope with no. It's just not realistic to live life without ever saying no. So of course, we definitely want to be mindful of the fact that children do need to be able to regulate and cope with things that aren't going their way.
That being said, if we can support this process, we should. As soon as children are in that mid-brain and they are hearing no, chances are good that that stressor is going to automatically stimulate the brainstem, which is where kids go into that fight or flight state. You might find tantrums, defiance, even aggression, simply by saying, "No, you can't have ice cream for breakfast." This is why children can appear to be so unreasonable sometimes.
One way that we can begin encouraging the process is by replacing no and targeting their motivation instead. For example, if your child says, "Can I have grapes for breakfast?" We might say something like, "Of course you can have grapes, but first needed to have our cereal." You see how rather than saying, "No, you can't have grapes for breakfast," we simply reframe it by letting them know, once you have eaten your proper breakfast, then of course you can have grapes as a snack. We can find creative ways to begin replacing no. Now. This isn't always going to work. We're not always going to be able to replace no. But I am positive if you just started being more mindful about the language you were using with your kids, you would probably start to see that there are some ways, and there are some times that you can begin replacing no by targeting your child's motivation instead. What this does is creates an opportunity for empowerment in your child where there's less resistance and more cooperation. It's just one other way that we can help them regulate those big decisions.