The Path of Least Resistance: Ways to Say No Positively

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"Para kang bata!" (You're like a child!) that is an expression we tell someone who doesn't understand No.

And when I tell my child "No" and I'm met with annoying whining and irritating groans I temporarily lose what little patience I have and gamely indulge her with a scream fit that would throw back the statement "para kang bata" right at me.

My favorite daughter,  and the most strong-willed of my 3 kids, is someone who has difficulty understanding no.  She would whine and howl like a wolf deprived of a meal for one year when she doesn't get something she asks for.  At first I reason out with her calmly.  And then on the nth time, I would roll my eyes, take a very deep breath, the deepest I can go, and snap.

Take this time when we were on our way to Fun Farm and it rained,  she insisted we still continue with the visit.  We calmly told her, "It's raining, how do we walk around the farm? Under an umbrella? Plus, the soil is wet ..." She still insists.  For the life of me,  I cannot understand why she cannot get it.

And then my husband, patience building while mine departing (galing ni God! (God is Great!)), gives the situation a ray of hope and offers her an alternative activity.  State of chaos aborted and peace restored.  Whew!

"Positivizing" the "no" by saying a "yes" conditionally usually does the trick.  My husband for instance offered an alternative activity.  She will still not go to Fun Farm but she will go to a nice mall instead.  In short, instead of saying, "No you can't have the chocolate" say "Yes you can have it, after dinner."  Instead of "No your time is up with the Ipad" say "Ok you can have that extension, after you have finished your homework."

It is way easier said than done especially when I have tons of things to do and don't have the luxury of time to reason out.  But now that I come to think of it,  repeatedly saying the word "No,"  a short reply for the time pressed me, will not get me anywhere with my kids and does in fact make the issue unresolved for a longer period of time.

But what to do when she can't really have that chocolate? Now nor after dinner.

I usually just distract my kid from the object of her desire, coupled with a very, very, very fervent prayer that she will forget it.  If she simply can't, I brace myself for a looong discussion on why I can't give her what she is asking for.  If she still insists and continues to whine,  I do what every person who wants to keep their sanity does,  I leave.  I give her my last piece of explanation and I tell her I'm going to leave for the moment and she can think about what I have just said.  She whines another maybe 30 minutes to an hour, while I cover my ears and go "ladidadidadida" in another room and pray "Lord, let her stop."  And, she always does:-)

Trapped Between a Scream and a Hug!

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  1. kaya nga ms. lilian, i read a lot e. i love reading mommy blogs, like yours. i learn a lot from you guys! =)

  2. this is very informative lilian and i’ll try applying nga this. sometimes it’s hard not to say “no” lalo na kung yung gusto nilang gawin is yung masasaktan sila or madudumihan. My baby A is at her age ng kalikutan and i always say “no” to her kasi nag-aalala ako lalo na if i’m busy pa doing chores at di ko sya mabantayan.

    having a baby is a very challenging task talaga but at the same time very rewarding din. =)

    • Hi Mary Joy! It’s really hard to say “No” to kids kaya we have to find creative ways to do it. Syempre easier said than done and I have snapped oh so many times but I guess even the snapping comes with parenthood. Ako din my baby, age 3, is already very stubborn. Ibang level ang hirap!:-)

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