Does your child have a hard time hearing the word, “No”? Soften your child’s opposition, stretch his capacity to inhibit, engage his frontal lobes, and gain cooperation with these time tested alternatives (adapted from Norton, 2013).
1) Phrase it in the positive.
Instead of saying, “Don’t poke your sister,” say “Keep your hands to yourself.”
It’s hard for a kid to visualize what NOT to do, but if you phrase your instruction in the positive, he can visualize what he’s supposed to do.
2) Make it a rule for everybody.
Instead of saying, “Don’t touch Daddy’s computer!”, say, “Remember, no one in the family gets to touch Daddy’s computer. It’s hands off for everyone but Daddy.”
3) Offer alternative choices.
Instead of saying, “No, you can’t have that big doll,”, say, “We don’t have enough money for that one, but we do for this other doll, stuffed animal, or toy car. Which one should we get?”
4) Have your child come up with a solution.
Better yet, have your child put on his thinking cap and engage his frontal lobes. “We only have $10 left. What would be the best buy for that amount?” By turning it into a game, whenever possible, turn the challenge into an opportunity to learn or have fun.
5) Turn it into a reward.
“Wow, that doll is beautiful! Kind of expensive, but beautiful. What do you think it would take to earn that doll? Remember that big project we were dreading? It sure would be easier to clean up that garage together if we knew we could come back for that doll.”
6) Delay tactics. Putting it in a logical place.
“You really want that extra bag of chips. Let’s save it to go with your sandwich for lunch tomorrow.”
7) Penalty incentive.
“I have to think about it. If you insist on an answer, it will have to be ‘No,’ because I can’t say yes right now.”
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