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How do you deal postively with a three year old who usually say no.


Brenda Nixon, M.A. Replied: Rather than a discipline problem, what you probably have here is language development. Most youngsters say, "No," because they're learning the word has power. They are experimenting with many words. Expect to hear "No" even when the child means to say, "Yes." Reading aloud to children is a wonderful way to expose them to many new words, plus it gives them that precious uninterrupted time with you that they crave. Another consideration, when a three-year-old says "No" too frequently, is that it means he hears the word too often throughout the day as correction. If a child constantly hears, "No!" from adults, he's going to repeat it. If that's the case, use other more directive words to replace your negative command. For example, instead of, "No running" simply say, "Walk." There's a chapter in Parenting Power in the Early Years (available on Amazon), "Don't Say 'Don't'" on using positive words to direct a child's behavior. That'd be a helpful chapter to read. Enjoy the free parenting articles on my site at
Posted On 2007-03-11 12:35:13
Dr. Steven Kairys Replied: Ignore the 'no's' as best you can. Give a lot of praise for the times that your child is positive. Learn to give a few simple choices, all of which are acceptable to you, so that the child learns to have some ability to control in a positive way.
Posted On 2007-02-15 11:24:33
Trish Booth, MA Replied: One way is to avoid asking questions that can be answered by no. For example, you can give the child a choice. Instead of asking "Do you want to get dressed now?" ask "Do you want to wear your red or your blue shirt?" This also avoids saying "It's time to get dressed," which can evoke a no. It is important that any choice you give is acceptable to you. That avoids conflict over the decision. This choice may take a few minutes. Try not to immediately pressure for an answer. You may have to ask the question several times because you child may address the bigger issue and respond "no" to having to decide. Just pleasantly and firmly ask your question again. If you don't get an answer, announce your child must not care, so you will choose. Your child's response of "no" brings it back to the choice of shirts. That should get a choice of shirts that moves your child toward being dressed. Another approach along these lines is to give your child a warning that an activity is about to happen or change. For example, you can announce that you are leaving the park in five minutes. Then after a minute or so, remind your child it's just about time to leave. Ask, "What's the last thing you want to do before we leave?" If you don't get a timely response, offer a choice between two activities your child might like. Again, this leaves your child in control of a small choice while you have control over the bigger issue.
Posted On 2007-02-12 18:09:41
Pamela Waterman Replied: Three-year-olds love to test their parents! They've discovered they have some choices in life, and they take every chance they can to try to be in charge. You have to choose your battles. When dressing the child, you can offer two choices of outfits you've already put on the bed. If he/she says no to both, that may be where you say "Show me the one you want from your drawer," and give in on this one. If that sets him/her off to picking out each piece one by one and wasting time, set a timer, and say, "If you haven't picked one by the time the bell rings, I pick it" and then stick to it. For other cases, you have to be firm and say "Sometimes you get to choose, and sometimes Mom is in charge. This is one of those times," and again stick to it. But, be sure to allow opportunities for him/her to say "yes!" too, then offer hugs, and say, "Good idea!"
Posted On 2007-02-12 00:10:49
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