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Parenting without Saying No

By Dallas Stevens

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Parenting is a delicate balance of knowing how to raise your kids with integrity while also preparing them for the real world.

Sometimes this means doing things that seem counter-intuitive to make sure our kids are actually hearing what we are saying and learning from situations.

Something that I learned from teaching and in the first couple of years of parenthood is that opportunities to talk to children without saying no is so important. Now as a mother of two, parenting without saying no, don’t, and stop is an important part of my every single day.

 

Parenting without saying no and creating boundaries for our children with intentional wording. 

Sometimes it’s hard to admit that hearing no is really tough. And in a very real sense, I by no means want my children to grow up without having ever been told no and my kids still hear no on a daily basis. It is absolutely part of life and one I want them to hear.

However, I have drastically cut down on its use in our home by saying no without actually using the word. And in cutting down, it has made use of the word more effective for us. So why would I advocate for adopting the “parenting without saying no” approach?

Very simply… because they listen better.

The way we are hard wired as humans is to listen to the sentence structure. We sometimes hear the first part of a sentence, almost always hear the last part, but rarely hear the middle unless we have our complete attention on the person talking to us. And really, what young child is giving us their undivided attention at all times?

Beyond just the way we hear, it’s also important for all of us to have clear directions. If we are given vague instructions, it leaves a lot of gray area. This is because there are a thousand alternatives to “not” doing something, but only one course of action that should be done when told specifically what to do.

So why would we not want to stop saying no to kids and adopt a system that helps our children listen to us better? Or be more obedient?

Read about and listen to my podcast episode on the power of saying MAYBE.

So how do I remove negative words when talking to my child?

It’s really easy to say no… WAY too easy. So it’s not going to be a cake walk to retrain your mind to ditch negative words and actions like “no”, “stop”, “don’t”, “can’t”, etc. but it is possible. It took me a long time and I am still not perfect. It’s all about practice.

Instead of saying “I can’t talk right now” when I am waiting on hold on the phone and my daughter comes to ask me a question, I say “I am on the phone right now. I can talk to you in a little bit”. I do this because I am focusing on what she is going to hear. If she is not giving me her undivided attention, she may only hear “talk right now”. Instead, I want her to hear “on the phone” and “in a little bit”.

Related: Need help navigating your child’s behaviors?

Likewise, if my daughter is in danger and is too close to the street I am not about to yell “Don’t go in the street!” because I don’t want her to hear the last half of it. I want her to hear “Come here please!” or “Move away from the street!”

Alternatives to saying no & using negative language with kids

There are numerous examples I could give, but thought some of the best were in the image above. We have also replace “don’t touch” with “please keep your hands to yourself”/”please keep your hands in your pockets” (we go to antique stores a lot).

And my husband is working on not using “my ears don’t hear whining” because she has shut down too many times. Instead, we encourage her to use her words and express her emotions in a way that we can understand.

Read more from Parents with Confidence about adapting your parenting style to your child’s needs.

Is it possible to discipline without saying no?

Yes! This has everything to do with the idea of being intentional with our words and giving clear instructions to our children. Using positive phrasing actually has the ability to set clearer boundaries than the word no itself.


Magda Gerber once said “A child who is never told “no” is a neglected child.” And I completely agree, but sometimes it’s also more about how we tell them no, rather than the word itself! We must affirm what our children need to do. Rather than discipline and teach them by telling them what not to do, it’s a lot easier to tell them exactly what we want them to do. In telling a child not to hit, maybe he thinks “Well can I kick?”

When my daughter threw a small wooden ball and it hit me in the forehead instead of saying “NO! Don’t throw that!” I simply said “Ow! That really hurt. Please keep your toys in your hands.”

In the end my parenting has become much more intentional by using negative language and “no” less and coming up with a more positive approach. It makes the power of “no” retain its meaning and has created clear boundaries for my children.

Get the Positive Discipline Cheat Sheet

Need help reframing how you see or respond to situations with your kids? This cheat sheet will help you through some of those tough moments when you want to react with frustration instead of love. The sneak peek is below, but be sure to subscribe to download the full, printable version!

 

 

Watch this response to many of your questions & concerns about reducing negative parenting language.

 

**Edited for Author’s Notes:

 

  • The list provided is simply a visual to help say no less. In fact, that is the thesis of my article. In no way have we ditched the word “no” forever. It’s all about finding alternatives and choices, especially in the hard moments as a parent when nothing is working.
  • Also, the phrasing of “negative language” and “positive language” simply refers to the grammatical English term in that the sentence is or is not negative.
  • For more responses, such as one to the “we will not buy that” alternative, please watch the video. It explains how we say no, divert attention, and create boundaries with our words. Thank you all for your great feedback and responses!

www.roshambobaby.com

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LEARN ABOUT HAVING A POSITIVE ATTITUDE {MAGNET ACTIVITY FOR KIDS}

By Dallas Stevens

via momentsaday.com

 

LEARN ABOUT HAVING A POSITIVE ATTITUDE {MAGNET ACTIVITY FOR KIDS}

Activities and ideas for teaching kids about having a positive attitude

You are a living magnet. What you attract into your life is in harmony with your dominant thoughts.

– Brian Tracy

We used this marble wand to demonstrate and explore the concept behind the quotation above.

Magnet activities for kids to explore what it means to attract positive thoughts into their lives

When we surround ourselves with positive experiences, positive people and positive influences then we can be sure to have a more positive mindset.

Here are some sample discussion questions that can be used along with magnet activities to inspire positive thinking for kids:

  • What makes you happy?  Why?
  • Who are your best friends?  How do they make you feel?
  • What is your favourite activity?  How does it feel when you do it?
  • Where do you enjoy spending time?  Why?
  • When you feel happy, how does it influence your actions towards others?
  • What can you do to ensure a positive attitude every day?
  • If you wake up and think, “This is going to be a great day!” what do you think will happen?  How about if you think, “This is going to be a bad day”?

Magnet activities for kids to explore having a positive attitude

Magnets, of course, can be used for many fun educational activities.  Please note that they should always be used under adult supervision.

Here are some more magnet activities to try:

4 Fun Magnet Activities for Preschoolers from Teaching Mama

9 Magnet Play Activities from What Do We Do All Day

Fun Science Experiments: Magnet Magic from Babble Dabble Do

You may also like to check out this post with 10 more activities about developing a positive attitude.

Fun tools to explore magnetism from Child.com.au

Magnetic toys and tools from Child.com.au can be found here

Thanks to Child.com.au for sponsoring this post as well as 10 readings of my storybook Mason’s Greatest Gems.  The book shares how to “mine your inner gems” and develop virtues.  Character building activities such the one described in this post are a great follow-up to the story.

Child.com.au has donated each institution I visit a $100 gift voucher to use on educational materials from their extensive range.

Activities and storybook for kids to learn about new virtues

I recently enjoyed visiting a primary school in Mount Isa (outback Queensland) to do a reading.  This visit was especially fun because the kids knew all about mining as their town had a huge mine in it!

After the book reading, I asked the children to name the virtue from the scenarios on the free printable found here and the child who answered correctly got to stand up in front of the group holding the gemstones I had prepared (pictured above).  After all the gems on the worksheet had been covered, we went through the virtues again by asking for new examples (and the students then sat down as their virtue had a new example described).

www.roshambobaby.com

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10 Phrases to Help You Develop a Growth Mindset in Parenting

By Dallas Stevens

By 

One shift in thinking has drastically improved my parenting, and that is moving from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset about being a mom. This growth mindset says – you are always learning and it’s never too late to make a more positive choice. When you make a mistake it’s not an indication that you are doomed to be a failure; it’s an opportunity to grow.

The concept is easy enough to understand, but changing the thinking habits I had wasn’t as simple. One of the interesting things about growth mindset that Carol Dweck states in her book, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, is that we can have a growth mindset about one area of life, but not another – that’s how I was about parenting. I had a growth mindset about things like creativity and academic learning. However, when it came to parenting, I expected myself to be a natural at being a mom.

I felt so awful about making mistakes in parenting. I’d feel so terribly guilty that I could barely make room for more positive, growth oriented thoughts. However, over time I discovered certain phrases that would quiet down the negative judgmental inner voice and allow me to learn instead of getting stuck in a place of depression and hopelessness. Here is a collection of 10 helpful tips about the growth mindset for parents.

If you’d like to be reminded regularly of ways to have a growth mindset, connect with your kids and communicate effectively, make sure you sign up here to get an invite to Bounceback Texts.

10 Phrases to Encourage a Growth Mindset in Parenting

  • Always learning – short and simple, you can think about this phrase to remind yourself that it’s healthy to be in the process of learning, you don’t have to know everything.
  • Connection, not perfection – this is my personal favorite growth mindset phrase for  remembering the priority in my relationships is connection, not getting every detail perfect. It is useful to think when I find myself getting stressed about a family event not going as planned, when I want to support a friend and don’t quite know the right words, or when I find myself waiting for just the right time to talk or play with my kids. Connection, not perfectionnudges me towards what matters most.
  • I’m in tune with my kids and I can make adjustments to our routines when needed. Have you ever felt like a failure when your perfectly worked out routine falls to pieces? It’s helpful to  remember that your job is actually paying attention to this and making a change.
  • This used to work for us (or I thought this would work for us) but I am empowered – I can make a change when things aren’t working. It can be hard to have a growth mindset when something you thought would be perfect for your family….isn’t. We put a lot of store in parenting choices like schooling, breastfeeding, foods we feed our kids, childcare, sleeping arrangements and so on. It’s not to say the way we handle these decision isn’t important, they are. However it is a mistake to believe there is one right way and if you find it everything will be great. Sometimes we have to make a change, and it can be humbling and scary, but holding on to patterns that don’t work for your family is no way to be a leader. Which leads us to another phrase that helps you have a growth mindset about parenting…
  • It takes strength and wisdom to recognize you need to change course, and then take action to make that change. 
  • I made a mistake and I am a big enough person to learn from it and move forward instead of clinging to something that isn’t working. Sometimes it stings to admit we were wrong, but compounding a mistake by clinging to something that isn’t working for you isn’t the answer. Learning from it and moving on is freeing.
  • It’s never too late to make a more positive choice. Sometimes I’ve been caught up thinking that everything is a mess – why bother? This phrase reminds me that making a more positive choice is always an option.
  • I can change directions. I can start over from now. Some days we need a do-over. Permission granted. You can start over from now.
  • I am a work in progress and this is part of that progress. It’s great to have a vision of where you want to be, but sometimes it’s easy to forget that the process of learning and growing has great value. You are someone valuable right now.
  • I always have potential for growth. Yes you do – you are not too old, too broken, too dumb. You have potential for growth. It’s helpful for me to remember I am not stuck being one particular way; through effort and time I can change if I wish.
  • What have I learned from this? Reflecting on what you’ve learned, even from the most uncomfortable situations, helps you grow.
  • Mistakes mean I’m learning. I always loved the song my Dad would sing to me when I was a kid that had a chorus that said, “Oops, you made a mistake, and you’re beautiful to me.

What phrase do you like to say to yourself to help you remember that you don’t have to be perfect?

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15 Creative Nursery Themes That Will Surround Your Baby With Dreams and Adventure

By Dallas Stevens

 

Expecting a baby comes with a lot of necessary forward-planning to make sure that you and your home are ready for the little one's arrival. While some of the planning is more on the logistical and practical side, it's also a chance to design and plan your baby's nursery. Creating a space where your baby feels warm, loved, and nurtured and which encourages their imagination as they grow is something that all parents strive for. If you're not sure where to start or just want some inspiration for your new baby's new space, check out some of these 15 creative and unique baby nursery themes ideas.

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23 Gifts That Won't Fit Under the Tree But Are Going to Be Huge Hits

By Dallas Stevens

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The Most Instagrammable Onesies For Your Sweet Baby

By Gen Cohen

If you can't get enough of the serious baby style* that graces your Instagram feed, we're totally with you. There are a ton of small businesses that make the most precious onesies for babies, which in turn make photos of babies that much more adorable (bet you didn't think that was possible!). We're sharing some of those onesies with you so that your photos can be the ones to pop up on other peoples' feeds to make them say, "Damn, that's a cute baby in a cute onesie."

Scroll through for fun onesies that you'll want your little babe to be wearing during their next iPhone photo shoot.

*Don't forget about mama Instagram style!

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10 Summer Activities For Kids Under $10

By Gen Cohen

Finding enough activities to keep kiddos busy throughout the whole Summer can become exhausting — and expensive. Save some money (and your sanity) with a few fun activities that cost almost nothing to set up and carry out. But remember! Sun protection for your kids' eyes don't have to be expensive either. Browse our baby and junior sunglasses to learn more!

Read through for 10 inexpensive summer activities for kids under $10 that they — and your wallet — will love.

  1. Berry picking. Rather than picking up overpriced berries from the grocery store, visit a local farm to pick your own to give your kids something fun to do.
  2. Fly a kite. A cheap kite won't cost you an arm and a leg, but it will definitely lead to hours of fun. There's nothing more exciting for kids than watching it fly in the sky!
  3. Water balloon fight. Grab a big bag of water balloons, spend an hour frustratingly filling them up, and watch as your children's smiling faces getting hit by balloons makes it worth the trouble.
  4. Paint pet rocks. Instead of using expensive arts and crafts kits, grab cheap paints and have your kids collect a bunch of rocks in the yard to decorate as their "pets."
  5. S'mores party. Buy some graham crackers, chocolate, and marshmallows, and start a fire in the backyard pit to make a delicious Summer snack.
  6. Pool noodle racing. For a fun indoor game, cut a pool noodle in half, lay the halves next to each other with the opening up, and use them as a racetrack for marbles.
  7. Build a moat. Using a roll of aluminum foil to hold the water in, let your kids go crazy designing a moat with the foil all around the outside perimeter of your house.
  8. Tarp 'n' slide. Slip 'N Slides can be expensive (and get ripped by the end of Summer anyway). Purchase a big tarp and pair it with a hose to give your children the gifts of slipping and sliding.
  9. Colored tape racetrack. Using colored tape on any floor, create a racetrack for your kids' cars (older kids can design the track themselves!).
  10. Make a soap cloud. Grab a bar of soap, throw it in the microwave to make it expand, and use cookie cutters and food coloring to make fun soaps to play with in the bathtub.
Image Source: Shutterstock

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Skip the Gas Station With These Healthy Road Trip Snacks For Kids

By Gen Cohen

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