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How to Tell Your Kids “No”

Parenting is a balance between knowing how to raise your child while also preparing them for the real world. From teaching your kids the difference between positive and negative language to how to dress, there are many things parents have to be mindful of. Sometimes, this means challenging your natural reaction or habit to make sure your kids are listening and learning from certain situations.

At New Horizon Academy, we know the importance of taking the opportunity to talk to children without saying “no.” Trying to parent without using negative language like “no” is essential because it helps wire kids’ brains for more positivity.

But let’s be honest; this does not mean you can never use the word. Your child will most definitely grow up experiencing being told “no” and will likely hear it daily. However, cutting down on using the term will end up making the phrase more effective.

Why should you advocate for parenting without saying “no”? To put it simply, your children will listen better. The way humans are hardwired is to listen to sentence structure. Many linguistic specialists say that kids often do not listen to what is being said but hear only the intent, which means they catch the first word. According to Stanford University, these feature deletions are one of many linguistic rules in how our brains process sentences. That is why when we add unnecessary negative language, children are forced to process what we say at least twice.

As a parent, you know it is easiest to say “no.” So, it is not going to be easy saying, “I’m busy right now. I will talk to you in a little bit,” rather than “Stop. I cannot talk.” Being intentional with words spoken and giving clear instructions to children using positive parenting phrases will help make the term more transparent.

Overall, parenting has become much more intentional using a particular language, no less a more positive approach. It makes the use of the word “no” retain its power and meaning, creating more boundaries for children.

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