In raising our children, there are inevitable moments we must start telling a child no. But there are actually easy ways to say yes, but mean no in the effort to start parenting with positive phrasing and without always saying no.
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Extremely Good Parenting Podcast EP. 008 Show Notes
A 15-minute surviving parenthood episode to address positive phrasing when communicating with your kids.
The power of maybe and other positive phrases with your kids
Maybe doesn’t necessarily mean no.
No typically should only be used when you truly want to establish a precedent and give a true ultimatum. When we say maybe, such as “maybe next time we can ___” or “Maybe when we come back ___” or something similar, we’re telling our kids it’s just not the right timing.
It also builds an understanding that answers won’t always be no (or even yes). It helps set the stage for teaching our kids about handling situations and identifying circumstances. In return, this also teaches empathy, emotional intelligence, and comprehension of timing (i.e. if you’re running late, you can’t stop to do something else that wasn’t planned).
Use “if-then” theorems.
This is very similar to maybe, but it’s a positive, non-bribing, way to negotiate. This form of negotiation creates trust between you and your child because you both have to fulfill your end of the bargain.
“If you help me at the grocery store, then we can go to the playground”
“If you play for an hour, then you can play on the iPad.”
Tell your child what you want versus what you don’t want.
It helps them understand you better and even sets a precedent that your kids will be afraid to disappoint you rather than be afraid of you.