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Turning the Negative Into a Positive


How much do you hate being told, “No”?

  • “Can I have a discount?” “No.”
  • “Can I take my vacation next week?” “No.”
  • “Can we have a date night?” “No.”
  • “Is there any ice cream left?” “No.”


Let’s put this on your kids’ terms:

  • “Can I look through this photo album?” “No.”
  • “Can I have an apple?” “No.”
  • “Can I go play outside?” “No.”
  • “Can I borrow the car?” “No.”

Come on! Who wants to hear that?

Why is it that you’re telling your child, “No”? Is it for their safety? Your own fears? Your convenience? Think about it – how do you feel when you’re told “no” over and again? It’s depressing, restrictive, and so frustrating! And you’re an adult – how do you think your kids, who do not have the mental capacity and experience you do, feel?

How about saying “Yes” no matter what? Here are some examples:

  • “Yes, I see that you want to climb up in the window. But it worries me that you might fall. Why don’t I hold you and we’ll look out the window together?”
  • “Yes, some of the paint has dripped on the table. Let’s put some old newspaper down before you go any further.”
  • “How about I get you some blocks to stack instead our dishes?”
  • “Yes, I understand that you need the car. But I already have plans that night. Is there any way you could find a ride?”

In all the situations above, what starts out instinctively a negative experience turns out to be a positive one. Positive experiences mean the world to a child, and you (and me) being a positive parent grants your child access to a world of possibilities. The world is a brighter place, not full of restrictions and unfulfilled desires.

Instead, with your creative use of the word “yes” your child will learn that his dreams are reachable. She will see through your example that it might take working through some problems, coming up with off-the-wall solutions, and always striving for a yes. But those lessons will remain – the positives will outweigh the negatives, and this lesson will carry forward for the rest of your child’s life.

Image credits: Heather Cushman-Dowdee & Wikipedia

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