A very common problem – we end up saying “No”, “Don’t”, “Stop”, etc. negative words to children throughout the day. What we call it is saying no to children. The reason is simple; children are doing many naughty things, many things which can hurt them, or sometimes demanding those things which are not for them. But, do we think of impact of such frequent denial on children? What are immediate and long term impacts of our behavior? Are there any serious consequences? The answer is “Yes!” Let us see how –
Why do Children not Pay Attention to the “No”?
One of the possibilities is – children are always in a hurry to listen things, something similar to doing things. Hence they may go for selective listening. E.g. if we say, “Don’t climb on table.” Child may hear only “Climb” and “Table”. She climbs on table. Conclusion – tried to stop child by saying “Don’t” but child did exactly opposite, because they heard so.
What is Impact of Saying No to Children Frequently?
Just think, if someone is saying “no” to us throughout the day. What will we feel? Will it be a happy situation? Two things can happen – We react to such denial, we become aggressive, we can even fight. Second, towards end of the day, we will be left with no self-confidence. Even we may not feel like taking any initiative then after.
Exactly this can happen to children. In short term we can see –
- Increase in tantrum
- Children doing those things repeatedly which we tried stopping them from doing
- Children crying, shouting, and throwing things etc.
- Children are unhappy
- We are unhappy
Long term effects can be really serious. A child’s personality can be shaped adversely through such environment. Definitely, it won’t be a happy personality. Here are some of the effects –
- Lack of Self-Confidence: Children may feel that they are not able to do most of the things. While doing things also, they may think that it won’t be possible for them to complete it. Slowly confidence will fall.
- Not Taking Initiative: Sometimes children will not do any new thing. Even in school or as a grown up person, they will not start something new. Instead, they might continue doing what they are doing for years.
- Negative Feeling for Parents: If parents are frequently saying no to children, children may cultivate same negative feeling about parents. It may be as simple as the thought that – my parents are not going to allow me do this thing as well.
- Hiding Things from Parents: As children grow they may start hiding things from parents fearing possibility of denial from parents. This is very dangerous. Cause we don’t know what all they are hiding.
How to Avoid Saying No to Children?
Not saying these words does not mean allowing children to do whatever they want to do. But changing the way we communicate with them. It means just removing the negative factor from communication. What are the ways? Here are few tips –
- Rephrase Negative Sentences to Positive: Such as “ABC, don’t climb on table” can be replaced by “ABC is going to sit on chair”. Go for a positive alternative. A different thing that children can do at that time.
- Explain the Consequences: “If you try to climb on table, you may fall down and get hurt, do you want to get hurt?” This can be another statement. Make child aware of dangers of the thing.
- Give Options: Provide options to what the kid is doing. Make kid take decision on those.
- Divert: Divert kid to other interesting things.
- Use Incidents/Stories: Using incidents and stories to convey the negative factor behind things is also an effective option.
- Just smile and say “Very Good”, “Very Good” when a child is doing something wrong. I have seen children realizing the wrong and stopping with a smile on face
- Use naughty corner or time out
All of us agree that we have to be really creative and smart while dealing with children effectively. Such options can help us to grow a better child.