I have nothing against the word “no”. In fact, I think it’s one of the most important words we have in the English language. That being said, if I hear my toddler use it against me one more time I’m going to go ape shit.

I don’t believe my child is perfect.

I’m definitely not one of those parents who thinks my child doesn’t deserve to be told no. I don’t believe everyone is a winner (I believe everyone has the potential to be a winner but we’ll save that for future discussions). I’m actually one of those parents who knows my kids will never know right from wrong unless I teach it to them and using the word “no” is a major part of that process. However, I’m slowly learning that the word “no” is said out of my mouth way too much.

To pile onto what else I’m not, I’m also not one of those parents who believes “no” desensitizes my child or causes rebellion. That’s because I believe when I say, “no,” I always need to accompany it with an explanation because kids deserve to know why not. They’re curious and want to learn as much as they can so it’s my job to contribute to educating my child at any opportunity I get. If anything I think “no” accompanied with an explanation sets boundaries, acts as a guide if you will, when it comes to limits and permissions

My son only ever said yes.

When he first started talking, my son never picked up on the word “no” too much. He knew what it meant, he knew to obey it, but it just wasn’t a word that came out of his face…ever. I was told that saying the word “yes” and never saying “no” was actually quite unique and very rare for a kid of his age between one and two years old but it never phased me how blessed I really was. I knew I didn’t like it when I heard other kids his age saying it all the time about anything and everything but it wasn’t anything I thought too long about.

All of that said, I do believe that my child had and has the right to say, “no.” He should be learning, as soon as he possibly can, how to communicate what he’s feeling at any given moment. The word “no” is extremely firm and in my unprofessional opinion develops a strong-will that isn’t wavering and shows a steadfast belief. On top of all of that, “no” can be the most important word when faced with a dangerous and/or uncomfortable situation.

Unfortunately, I have reached my limit.

Yup, my son has finally discovered the word and has started applying it to anything and everything. I tell him the sky is blue, he says, “No, it’s not.” I tell him this is one of his favorite songs playing and he responds with, “No, it isn’t.” I’ll even agree and turn it off and he yells, “No, I want to hear it.” So it doesn’t matter if it’s fact or opinion, everything I say gets the opposite reply. It doesn’t take a genius, hell it doesn’t even take a fellow parent to figure out, I have reached my limit with being told “no”.

I’ve tried everything in my arsenal to curb this new bad habit, and I like to think I’m pretty Jedi when it comes to Getting Your Kids to Do What You Want. I’m even all for disciplining him for telling me, “no,” when communicated in inappropriate ways (and if you don’t believe that I’m a disciplinarian you need to check out To Those Who Said, “Good Luck With That”). However, I realized that in the process I was telling him “no” myself…ALL. THE. TIME. That’s when I realized I needed to figure out some alternative ways of communicating it and setting a better example myself. I don’t want to find myself on a You Suck as a Parent If… list.

Below are some possibilities that I’ve come up with and I was thinking of doing an experiment of sorts where I would try all of them, take notes on how they were received, report if they worked, and if they did which ones worked more or less and then do a follow up to this article with all my results. If you were interested in doing this with me, leave a comment below and we can join forces, if you have suggestions on what to try (that isn’t in this article) then please leave those in the comments as well. Without further ado here are the alternatives to “no” that I will be attempting (and I use ice cream as the example because I like ice cream so get off me…sorry, I’m a little irritable after creating this “NO” monster):

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toddler saying no