Friday, August 13, 2010

Avoid saying the word ' NO'

The advice that parents regularly hear is to say No a couple of times during the day , so the kid learns that they can't get everything that they want and they learn to accept the No word. What follows is kids either go ballistic , explode or implode accepting that their parents don't consider that they have legitimate concerns or feelings. When we say NO we trigger the cortisol hormone which puts us and the child in the ' fight – flight mode.' There is the assumption that parenting is about win-lose scenarios , kids resisting parental control and parents trying to get kids to do what they want them to do. If he really want our kids to ' hear us ' , hear our concerns and experience learning when they interact with us , we need to let them go through the thinking process and make meaning of what is happening , we need to get them talking and reflecting, exploring situations and the concerns of all.

Saying No is essentially only one solution to a concern . Because the solution only addresses the parents concern we are using Plan A. Traditionally kids have never had their concerns heard and when they have been heard it is more of a Plan B in a guise of Plan A. Empathizing with a kid and validating concerns is something parents do just to make compliance easier for kids to swallow , it is called ' Perfunctory empathy – very much part of the Love and Logic approach. Kids need reassurance when we use collaborative problem solving Plan B that we are not trying to force a solution .

I like the phrase - ' I am not saying No '

Of course this does not mean I am saying yes , it means ' I just want to hear your concerns , can you tell me more ?' Our purpose is to get a conversation going with the child mainly speaking and we listening.

We need to gather information about the child's concerns , and take a step back from the solution he has presented.

It is very important not to rush this stage. The child has to feel that he is being heard and understood.

We can also use phrases – I am not saying ' you have to do homework or go to sleep ' etc

Parenting is similar to soft selling , like a dance. When we step back our dance partner steps forward , when we are no longer forcing an issue , the kid no longer resists. When we show how our product will meet our kids needs , they will sell it to themselves.

CPS is not easy , in fact it is hard work , but dealing with the aftermath of the NO word , working on the back-end is much harder and less productive that working on the front end.

Alfie Kohn recommends in his book ' Unconditional Parenting ' 13 principles of parenting . They include Don’t stick your no’s in unnecessarily, try to say yes and don’t be rigid.

Try to talk things through and help your child connect with his true inner core so that the mutually satisfying solution is one that he feels is his own, meets his needs and an expression of who he is.


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