Clinica Sierra Vista WIC

When I say, "NO," I mean, "Yes?"

by Michael E. Kirk, PhD
Dr. Kirk is a local clinical psychologist, father and grandfather, who specializes in working with families, adolescents, and children.

How many times a day does it go like this: “Oh,” says the parent, “what did I just tell you? I said absolutely not. Not until all your homework is done. And, what about that messy room? You can’t leave. No. Stop asking me.” “Awww,” says the child, “come on, other kids get to play without doing homework. Why do you have to be so mean? Let me go, please? Can I watch TV instead, then? I’ll clean my room later. Please, Please?” “Stop asking me. Just do your work,” says the parent. “Come on, don’t be mean,” coaxes the child. “Please, I want to go. I want to go. I want to go. Come on. Come on.” The parent, who is becoming fed up with the child’s continued antics, says, “Gosh, ALL RIGHT, just stop talking! I am so tired of you asking. Just leave.”

“Whew,” says the child as he walks out of the home. “I thought I was going to have to do that for another five minutes to get her to say, ‘GO.’ That wasn’t too hard.” The mother inside the home is fuming and taking her frustration out on anyone nearby. “That kid,” she murmurs, “does not know how to take ‘NO’ for an answer. He is relentless. I should never have let him leave. He is just so ANNOYING with his constant bombardment of “CAN I GO?’ badgering! Gosh, I am so tired of this.”

That scenario is a favorite of children. They have read about it on page 18, paragraph four of the “How to Manipulate Your Parents” book. This is a secret book offered to all children who live with their parents. It instructs the child exactly how to irritate the parent just enough that the parent eventually gives up and allows the child the privilege he had recently been denied. All is lost until you realize that parents have a tool that supersedes the child’s book.

Rule 1. You can encourage a child’s behavior, any behavior, by looking and talking with your child.

Rule 2. You discourage a child’s behavior by ignoring him.

You can choose to respond to your child or not. But decide, because the child is playing by different rules.

Just before you speak to your child, pause and make certain you want to see this behavior again and again. Knowing now that you actually reinforce your child’s behavior when you respond to him should be enough to make you think. The tactic to get your child to stop talking is to simply STOP responding to him altogether. You must STOP talking to your child. Take a moment, pause, and think it through: Have I already told my child what I want? Do his ears work? Yes they do, so he probably heard me the first time. I am done with this conversation. Turn away from your child. This will be difficult to do, because you are so accustomed to explaining to your child WHY he must do as he is told. Now, you can allow your child to figure it out for himself, and he will. But, he no longer requires your assistance to explain it over and over.

Say it once to your child and stick to your guns. He will test you, but you must remain silent. Eventually, he will back off and go complete his homework and chores. Now, you can smile at him and offer him his freedom. Now, you can say “yes” and continue to focus on the positive behaviors your child exhibits.

Printer Freindly Version
Email to a Friend

Tags: Featured Story, Parenting

Kern Family Health 25 yrs
OMNI SEP21 box
Clinica Sierra Vista WIC
OFFICE LOCATION: 1400 Easton Drive #112, Bakersfield, CA 93309
PHONE: 661-861-4939 For Advertising and Subscription Inquiries
FAX: 661-861-4930