Inviting Cooperation—10 Alternatives to “No”
EXAMPLE: The child says,
“I don’t like this shirt! I want a different one!” (early morning)
“I want a cookie! Can I have a cookie, please, please, please?” (evening, before dinner)
1. Set clear expectations:
“You may switch shirts as soon as you have finished eating breakfast.” “You may have a cookie after you have finished your dinner.”
2. Respond with a question:
“What is it you don’t like about this shirt?” “When do we usually have dessert?”
State a given (i.e., a rule or condition):
“That is the shirt you chose to wear today.”
“In our family, we have dessert on the weekend.”
Do not defend or explain, simply continue to restate the rule...
A letter and response about Temper Tantrums with Jane Nelson (author of the Positive Discipline series)
Dear Dr. Jane,
I don't know what has gotten into my three-year-old. She has always had a bit of a temper, even when she was an infant. But she was also a sweet, happy and cheerful little girl. She was very obedient and willing to learn and please. Now she has tantrums for everything. Here are some examples:
Rudolf Dreikurs taught the importance of being both kind and firm in our relations with children. Kindness is important in order to show respect for the child. Firmness is important in order to show respect for ourselves and for the needs of the situation. Authoritarian methods usually lack kindness. Permissive methods lack firmness. Kindness and firmness are essential for Positive Discipline.
Many parents and teachers struggle with this concept for many reasons. One is that they often don't feel like being kind when a child has "pushed their buttons." Again I want to ask, "If adults want children to control their behavior, is it too much to ask that adults learn to control their own behavior?" Often, it is the adults who should take some Positive Time-out until they can "feel" better so they can "do" better.
Ginny Johnstone is a certified Positive Discipline Parent Educator, consultant and Heal Your Life coach specialising in teaching conscious parenting ideas and self-awareness tools to parents and teachers in South Africa.