Say No to Crooked No’s* (3-29-14)


Today’s Parenting Tip:

DECIDE:   You can help your child learn to be responsible for saying no when he means no. 

PRACTICE:   Today, when your child responds with a crooked no (for example, makes an excuse or avoids a question), work with him to be responsible and give you a straight answer. Here is an example of how to do that.

“Will you take the dog for a walk?” says the adult.

 “Will you take the dog for a walk?” says the adult.

“Later,” says the child.

 “Will you do it before or after your TV show?” says the adult.

 “I don’t know,” says the child still avoiding a straight answer.

 “Will you do it before the TV show, yes or no?” says the adult insisting on a straight answer.

What the adult wants from the child is a plain “yes” or “no.” His answer then becomes something the adult can hold him to – there is no wiggling out of his responsibility.

Remember, don’t ask your child if he will take the dog out (or do anything else), if he has no choice. Don’t push for a straight yes or no about something the child is required to do. Only push for a straight yes or no when you are asking the child about a true choice, and you are willing to accept either answer to your question.

*(Thanks to Jean Illsley Clarke for the term, “crooked no.”)

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, MORRIS THE ARTIST.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Come back each day for another good parenting decision and how to practice it. (Each day’s activity will also be posted on the Daily Parenting Tips page for easy access.)

Read the whole story at The Benefits of Art, Choices, and Discipline: Part II. 

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