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How do you respond when your child just says 'NO!

Does this sound familiar?

You: (Calm, nice voice) ‘Amy, go and get your shoes on, it’s time to go out’

Child: ‘No, I don’t want to, I’m busy’

You: (Still calm) ‘Come on darling or we will be late’

Child: ‘You can’t make me’

You: (Getting more irritated) ‘Don’t be rude Amy, it is time to leave NOW’

Child: ‘Go away, I said ‘Nooooooooo’

You: (Furious) ‘Just do as I say RIGHT NOW or else...’

Child: 'No I won't'

You: (Really furious) 'Right that’s it. No ipad for you for a whole week'
 

Oh dear, the battle has begun to get nasty and the problem is, no one will feel they’ve won.

I get so many parents coming to me for help with this issue. What do I say?

  1. Before you issue a command, physically go up to your child and get down at their level.
  2. If they are watching any kind of screen you have to switch it off or give them a two minute warning before you switch it off.
  3. Once the screen is off, engage a little ‘You love ‘Paw Patrol don’t you? Who is your favourite character?’ Have a short back and forth about it. I know, I know you are thinking ‘I don’t have time for chatting like this'. Ask yourself how long does the nagging and potential shouting take?
  4. Then tell your child you are going to ask them to do something or ask the question.  ‘I’m going to ask you to get ready for going out. What do I need you to get on first?’
  5. Then wait for the answer. If they say ‘I don’t want to go out’, empathise ‘I know, it is cosy at home isn’t it.’ Pause… ‘What is it time for now though?’
  6. You are starting at this point to engage and connect with your child and are much less likely to meet with resistance and a ‘no’. Comment on something positive ‘You know the colour of your shoes don’t you? You are so good at colours’ or ‘You are so grown up now, you can do so many things for yourself, not just your shoes but your coat too!’
  7. Praise each tiny step in the right direction after this until you get the result you want. It might require a bit of extra time investment but it will pay off and next time things get much easier.

I have given you an example here of getting shoes on, however children will be resistant about tons of things.  I can’t tell you all the answers here but know that empathy, connection, consistency and keeping your cool will avoid the battles and will encourage far more cooperation than you might have had.

If you would like to work on this or other issues directly with me, do get in touch to set up a time to chat about how I could help. Contact Camilla