The way we talk to our kids matters a lot because that’s where they learn how to talk to themselves and others.
Do you remember how your parents used to talk to you as a child?
You might not recall everything they said but there are some things that stay with us even after we grow up. This also happens to our kids.
It’s totally necessary at times to be strict and scold our kids when they cross the boundaries but there needs to be a proper tone and way of speaking that doesn’t offend them.
Have you listened to yourself as you talk to your kids? Are you always yelling and telling them not to do things instead of using positive phrases?
I know parenting is difficult and it can really test your patience but these are the stages where you need to be really calm and hold your temper. If you’re struggling with what to say to your kids instead of “no” without losing your mind, this piece is totally for you.
Related: Feeling like you’re a bad mom because something happened that either shouldn’t have happened or that you could have handled better.? Then this one is for you… Ditch The Mom Guilt
Here are some positive phrases that you can tell your kids instead of “no”:
When you directly shunt their idea or thought with a harsh “no”, they feel a sense of abandonment. This might not be your intent but your words are conveying the total opposite things. Thus, being mindful of the language you use with your kids is really impactful.
1. I’m proud of you
Do not let your kids struggle to earn this phrase from you. While they’re accomplishing little things or even accepting their failure, let them know how proud you feel. It’s necessary to make kids understand that their worth doesn’t depend on how successful they’re and hence, do not use this phrase only when they achieve success.
You can be proud of the little things they do, the act of kindness they spread, or the way they solve things on their own.
So instead of “no failures”, you can always say “I’m so proud of you for trying even if you don’t succeed”
2. Use kind words
If you expect your kids to use kind words, you need to be an example and show them how to follow.
When your kids start yelling or talking back, remind them that you’re using only kind words inside the home. Thus, instead of yelling back or giving back answers, pause and be mindful of how you want to proceed.
Remember, only kind words here like “remember we had a rule of talking politely” instead of “no, you can’t talk this way” or “this is not your way of talking and you’re grounded”.
3. Disagree with a reason
As a child, I always expected my parents to give me a valid reason for their denial. However, when they failed to do so, I used to get super furious and angry with them. Thus, if you disagree with your kids or if some situation is against your will and you don’t allow them for it; give them the reason for your denial.
I’m sure, your kids will understand when you calmly explain to them why you’re against certain ideas.
“I’m sorry we cannot go to the park today as mama has some urgent assignment to work on but we shall surely go tomorrow’ instead of ‘No, we cannot go to the park today”
The words we use, the tone in which we speak leaves a great impact on our kid’s minds and you really want them to take positive speech ahead in their life.
4. Process their emotions
Your kids at times deal with big, huge emotions that they’re not able to process. As a parent, it becomes really crucial to look after their needs of processing the wild emotions and normalize them.
They might be feeling whiny or angry or just very sad so instead of denying their emotions, respect them and validate them.
“It must be very difficult and feel yucky” instead of “Stop being a whiny baby” or “no more yelling”
This will make them feel calm and they will be able to understand that their emotions are just so temporary.
5. Try some word tricks
Your kids will probably not know you’re using positive parenting but will appreciate and understand everything you do.
If they’re being stubborn, instead of yelling or telling them not to be stubborn you can always reframe your words and ask them to think if what they’re asking is actually valid.
Make them question their stubbornness and they will find their own answers.
“Is it necessary to take your toy to the store or will it be okay to play it when we return because your toy will be waiting for you to come back soon” instead of “We cannot take your toy to the store with us, it’s simply not allowed”.
You see, how reframing words can give you the liberty to make your kids wonder about their own choices. It’s so wonderful seeing them figure out things on their own.
6. Don’t take sides
When there’s a fight between siblings or friends, one thing to remember is to stop taking sides.
Your kid may be right or wrong, you don’t have to justify it then and there. It’s okay to let them learn how to deal.
You can say to them, “You really want to pay with that toy, don’t you? But can we wait until she finishes” instead of “No fighting, that’s not your toy”.
This will make your kid calm down and their first reaction to every problem won’t be fighting.
7. Remind them of the things politely
Instead of yelling about what they need to do, remind them peacefully about what needs to be done.
Make a set of agreements to be followed and keep reminding them to follow.
“Remember we agreed on walking in the house” instead of “No running inside the house”.
This will make them feel a sense of commitment because they agreed on something they need to follow.
8. Validate their emotions
Just as processing emotions is an important aspect of growth, validating them as a parent is equally important.
Their yelling, crying or sobbing might not be fair, but understand that they’re just little kids dealing with something unknown. They are so unknown to their emotions and are trying hard to know how to react.
Try saying “Is this making you feel bad? How can we try to make you feel better”, instead of “Stop yelling, this is normal and happens to us all”.
You see, how your way of putting and reframing words totally changes your outlook towards the situation. This helps kids a lot in getting the feeling of being understood by their parents and we as an adult know how much this means.
In the end, “No” is never an answer for anything literally. You can always come up with some mindful phrases that don’t necessarily use the word ‘no’.
I would really appreciate it if you can drop your suggestions or views on this in the comments below. I also hope that this piece encourages you to work on the phrases you’re telling to your kids.