Saturday, October 16, 2010

15 Parenting Tips I Give Myself: Let NO mean NO

Tip #9: Let your NO mean NO

Piggy-backing on Tip #8, where I encouraged you to use the word no sparingly, I want to be sure to address the other side of the coin: don't say No unless you mean it but when you mean it, be sure to stick to your guns. (Bonus feature: when you have it in mind to make sure you follow through with your No you might find it easier to say Yes more often. Because it can be difficult to enforce a No and even more exhausting to enforce a No you did not have a good reason to give.)

Again, let your No mean no. Don't let begging, pleading or fit throwing cause you to cave in. I have been addressing this issue in my own family quite often. Little Weston has turned begging into an artform. He does not take no for an answer. He asks again and again. He gets cute. He gets ugly. He flops into a heap a screaming tears. He gives up and then 15 minutes later starts it all over again. I think all my kids did something like this at about Weston's age (nearly 4). It drains the life out of me and sometimes I want to give in just to get him to stop.

Of course I can't do that, now can I?

I am using this "opportunity" to teach him that Mommy's No is what it is: silly to argue with. I whip out this handy phrase (with a smile and sweetness): "Oh, remember? I already answered that question." If that phrase sounds familiar it is because I mentioned it in Tip #4 as well. It's a handy phrase.

But on to my next challenge: the almost 2 year old. Drake has some pretty atrocious eating behaviors right now. I will shamefully admit to two of them because if you have ever eaten a meal with us, you already know about them. No sense hiding them: He stands up in his high chair (just to get a rise out of us) and mommy and daddy in the eye with a sly grin. He also enjoys a food-throwing routine when he does not want it. (And 95% of the time the food makes to to the sink, which has been convenient enough for me so as to mostly ignore the food-throwing behavior...I was going to but it in there anyway, right? (A weak "Drake, don't do THAT," an eye roll and then on to the next thing.) I have been remiss at teaching him all about how No means No (obviously!) when it comes to these two behaviors. (Remember how I said I did not know what I was doing on this parenting journey? Well, proof text right here!)

A Love and Logic podcast I was listening to yesterday taught me about the "Uh-Oh song." I will thy this when we have dining issues, I think.

From a Love and Logic blog, cleverly named Love and Blogic:
. Always adding to my parenting toolbox...because you KNOW I need it!
For Parents of young children: Try the steps of the "Uh Oh Song" for at least TWO WEEKS following these steps exactly. (Before you try this technique the first time wait until a day when you are well rested and have practiced it well in your head)

1.  Instead of making threats or giving warnings say, "Uh Oh, Looks like a little bedroom time!"
2.  Gently carry, lead or guide the child to their bedroom. (Make the room safe ahead of time - remove anything you don't want broken)
3.  Give your child a choice about the door - "Do you want the door shut or open?" If they come out before you say so, make sure the door is shut and stays shut. You may have to wedge it shut or lock it on the outside if you don't want to stand their and hold it shut. (Of course, stay nearby and don't leave the house for safety sake.)
4.  Say, "Feel free to come out when you're acting sweet."

What if they throw a major fit? This may be harder on you then it is on them but keep reminding yourself that in the long term this will give you a happier and more well behaved child. Be careful that you are not angry and that you don't use too many words. Let the consequence do the teaching.

For more great parenting help check out Love and Logic's resources for preschoolers and elementary kids

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