Nix the Negativity
As a parent, the word "no" becomes a very large and significant part of your vocabulary. However, this word holds more negative power than we would like to think and we run the risk of overusing it. Kara Carrero writes on her blog, "Extremely Good Parenting" about the usage of "no" and other negative language that make a significant impact on your relationship with your child. She explains in the article the importance of being counter-intuitive with your words to ensure that your child is actually hearing what you say and genuinely learning from situations. What she claims is that in her own life, not saying "no" as often has actually made the word more effective. The fact is that we, as humans, are wired to hear the intent rather than listen to the words being said. We often only hear the first and last pieces of a sentence or phrase rather than the middle portion meaning when we are speaking to young children and add some unnecessary language, they often miss what we are really saying. This ultimately confuses the child of what you are asking them to do and makes it more difficult for them to understand what action they need to take in order to obey. The reality is that it is really easy to use the word "no." It's not so simple to cut negative words out of your every day language, but it can be made easier when you begin to focus on the actual message in the phrase. There are more way to discipline that are positive and more intentional than just saying "no." The focus needs to be on how we tell them them no to reaffirm the intended message. Making a conscious effort to use positive language when disciplining will give the word "no" more positive power and allow it to retain its meaning.