Estimated read time : 3 minutes
You are trying to get your child ready for pre-school. You say ‘Riya, please get up. Let’s get ready for school. Mama has to go for work.’ She only responds by pulling the blanket over her head and screaming ‘No!’ You make Riya’s favourite breakfast of pancakes and try to entice her saying ‘Come and have pancakes before Papa finishes them up’. Cranky and crying, Riya eventually comes to the dining table and grumpily eats a few morsels
We might wonder why small children say ‘No!’ The ‘No’ allows them to control a situation to a certain extent and puts some power in their hands. It’s just a different way of declaring their independence.
Parenting a demanding child is not as unusual as you imagine. You might even wonder if your child will ever say ‘yes’ to something at least. Even when you ask your child if he or she wants to come to the play area, what’s the response? ‘No!’ The ‘No’ may be whispered, shouted or accompanied with a firm headshake, but the result is the same. You are left bewildered, angry or helpless! What can you do?
Dealing with all the ‘Nos’ is really tiresome but if one is patient, one can win over the child with an array of disciplinary techniques. The trick is not to let your child know that he or she is being disciplined!
What can you do to deal with the situation? Stop saying ‘No!’ as far as possible. For instance, if your preschooler asks you for two bedtime stories instead of one, stop saying an automatic ‘No!’ Instead, you can let your child choose the story he wants read and allow him to colour the illustrations in the book you are reading out to him.
If your child protests against going to bed, allow him to choose between having a bath or brushing his teeth first. Appeal to your child’s inherent desire to make you happy by saying ‘Anita, Mama will be so happy if you put away your toys.’ If your child refuses to come out of the bathtub, instead of forcibly lifting her out kicking and screaming ‘No!’ you can tell her about the hot chocolate waiting by her bedside which she can share with her teddy bear.
Try to avoid a battle with your child by framing things better. So, instead of saying ‘You can play with your friend Naomi only if you drink your milk fast,’ you could say ‘As soon as you finish your milk, let’s go and get Naomi. Both of you can play with your Lego set then.’
However, ‘No’ is not an option as far as safety is concerned; for example, your child might want to play with the match box or kitchen knife. In such cases you have to be very firm and exercise your authority.
Please know that and be assured that your child is saying ‘No!’ not because he or she doesn’t love you. Be tactful and she will soon grow out of this ‘No!’ stage. However, if you are still worried, you can talk to your child’s teachers at school. They will surely have some novel ideas.