Monday, January 30, 2012

Mama Says: I Don't Tell My Kids "No."

Before you read the title and crucify me for kids needing boundaries, let me explain. I'm not raising little heathens who run amok and do anything and everything their heart desires. We have boundaries, we have expectations, but I don't tell my kids "No." Occasionally it slips out, but for the most part, I don't tell them "No."

I think too often kids hear, "No, don't do that James," or "No, Sarah." That they hear "No," all day long and become oblivious to it. And just telling them "No," doesn't direct them to what they should be doing.

I may be shooting myself in the foot here, but I've decided not to tell my kids what not to do and what they should be doing instead. I find myself repeating, "Peanut, we sit down in the tub," 785678946329 times as I help him sit back down, but at least I feel like I'm telling him what he should be doing. He shouldn't be standing up in the bathtub and he should be sitting instead. We're trying to teach them not to touch the oven so instead we say, "Ouch, ouch, ouch!" The oven is hot!" as we pull them away.

I repeat, "Hands off!" more times that I can count each day, but I'm really hoping not to have kids who just ignore me because all I say is "No." They still test the boundaries, they are kids after all. Lovebug is really good at the hands off command whereas Peanut just laughs as we pull him away from the oven or dog food. But I'm really hoping that in the long run we can avoid some of the terrible two meltdowns because although they may not be able to communicate back to us very well, they understand what we'd like them to do.

We'll see how well this actually works, but with two boys to raise, I've thought long and hard about my parenting and it's all about raising socially acceptable children all the while avoiding two screaming, tantrum-throwing heathens in the long run. I know they will throw tantrums, I'm sure many times it will be at the same time, but by not telling them, "No," I'm hoping to avoid just a little of the craziness.


  1. I think that is a really good idea!!

  2. Good for you, hun! One of my sisters is really good about this. I notice she is *always* giving the kids choices too. I agree that if kids have more direction and focus on what they should be will really help them. Let's hope I can follow through with it when I become a parent!

  3. This is so smart!
    I say NO often and my girls now repeat it often. Giving them corrections is such a better options. I guess 'NO' just comes naturally. Thanks for inspiring me to do things a little differently

  4. Kudos, Lindsay. This is exactly how parents should be dealing with their children. Positive reinforcement and teaching the "yes's" in life is always the way to go. It doesn't mean they're spoiled or don't have boundaries. You're teaching them to be positive and showing them alternatives. They are happy, healthy babies who have parents that care about how they're raised. That is SO commendable in this day and age.

  5. While I'm guilty of saying no a lot, studies have shown that your method - making positive statements, saying what behavior you do want, etc etc is actually the best way to deal with children. So you go, mama!! You're doing a great job!!

  6. I love this mama!!! You are an awesome mama and they are so lucky to have you!! I am soo similar- my "oh shit" usually comes out instead of "no" lol :)


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