Positive Child Discipline : Say Yes More

Some say it’s a parents job to often say no, and show a child who’s in charge. Others say to avoid the word no as much as possible.

So, what about me? I have written previously about my tips for a peaceful life with preschoolers. My general parenting strategy with young children is to be firm on the things that do really matter, and have a more lenient attitude towards the rest. For example, if my two year old does not want to hold my hand while crossing the road – that is non negotiable, but if he wants to keep stopping and looking at leaves, cars, cats and whatever else he finds on his travels, then fine (as long as we are not running late for an appointment obviously)

This post about “A Lifetime of Yes Moments” from Let’s Lasso the Moon really sums this up. If you like my Facebook Page you may have seen me share this a couple of weeks back. It’s a simple thing, but I think it’s just being concious of this change in mind frame from where we are constantly saying “no” almost as a reflex. I know that when I am tired or stressed (or both!) I notice myself saying no to things when really a yes would have done no harm and would have allowed a more pleasant, fun and relaxed atmosphere in the house. Saying no to everything can undermine those times when we really do want to say no, and really mean it. Saying yes lightens the atmosphere in the home and allows parent and child to enjoy each others company.


It’s easy to get into a negative cycle where it feels like you are constantly having to tell your child off, or stop them from doing things. I sometimes see parents making a big issue out of minor things, in a way that brings a lot of unnecessary conflict into the home. I have done this myself at times, again normally when tired or stressed, and always end up regretting this when I make these kind of mistakes.

By saying yes more, I don’t mean that I give in to all my kids’ demands or buy them everything they want! More like, if they asked for sweets/cake/whatever before dinner, you could just say “no” or you could say “yes, after dinner”. If they wanted a toy in a shop you could just say “no” but if I say they can keep it mind for their birthday or Eid this won’t have the same effect of just snapping a quick “no” and rushing them away from the item.

I want my children to feel confident, well loved and proud of who they are. Encouragement and praise is a vital part of that. To me, discipline is not just about ‘correcting wrongs’ but about building a child with a good character, who will grow up to be someone that contributes positively to society. This post from Pint Sized Treasures on how to build up and encourage your toddler gives 5 practical steps on this, and I fully agree with those.

Of course, correcting mistakes is part of discipline. It’s inevitable that something will go wrong somewhere along the line. Children will always make mistakes, their impulses do get the better of them. These are all a chance for them to learn, so that they don’t repeat that mistake again! I don’t think a lenient attitude towards some things with your child should ever stop you from laying down firm boundaries where it really matters. To me, safety and kindness to others are my first concerns, and I also really can’t stand destructive behaviour. If the children purposely break or ruin something, that is a big deal to me.

We also can’t forget the massive influence our own behaviour will have on our children. The best way to discipline and shape a child’s character is to have a good character ourselves. Rather than focusing only on their behaviour and mistakes, we can look at our own and see that change reflected back to us in our children.

child discipline kids don't remember what you try to teach them, they remember what you are

13 thoughts on “Positive Child Discipline : Say Yes More”

  1. For the things that are crucial eg doing homework, going to bed on time to be very firm.
    When outside or visiting someone we never ever let the kids out of our site. Crossing the road means that we always hold their hand.

  2. i feel the same as you. I always try my best never just to say no, i like to say yes you can have it after we have finished shopping, for your birthday etc etc. For essential things like holding hands crossing roads then it is always they have to so if my children say can we cross the road without holding your hand i say no as roads are very dangerous but you will when you are a little bigger.

  3. I am too good at giving in and do say no too often at other times- I need to find the balance! I think the key is to listen to your children and understand why they want to do something first before jumping in

  4. I also try not to say no too much, but sometimes no is the only answer and they have to learn to accept that, even when they don’t agree!
    For us, rewarding good behaviour and learning that their actions have consequences has been really successful – I don’t agree with everything Super Nanny says but the naughty corner works brilliantly in our house!

  5. I have a great book that is all about this…there is a section about turning no into yes! It is called Happy Kids Happy You: Using NLP to Bring Out the Best in Ourselves and the Children We Care for. I can really highly recommend it. Makes for much happier times all round.

  6. when my son was younger I really was a Yes Mummy. I was very relaxed about taking 4 hours to make the 30 minute walk home so that my son could kick the leaves and feed the ducks and roll in the mud. I have found i have lost a bit of that since he has got a little older (he’s only 4.5). Thanks for the reminder. I am featuring your post on the Sunday Parenting Party this weekend.
    The Monko recently posted…Art appreciation for preschoolersMy Profile

  7. I definitely notice the difference in all of our behaviours when we’re tired and stressed, and it’s often hard to take a step back in order to have a calmer reaction to something but generally we do try to talk about something rather than giving a reactionary “no”. The naughty corner has also worked for us but is only used as a last resort and I’m pleased to say we don’t have to use it very often.

    I think children do need discipline as they need to learn that they can’t do or have everything just like we can’t as adults. The difficulty is that at a young age they just don’t understand that and don’t understand things like time frames so it’s a balance between teaching them about discipline and also having effective discipline.

  8. ive got the same attitude to discipline myself, but i do find myself saying no more when im tired. i know when ive messed up because my little lad will inevitably echo it back in the next few days. i apologise to him too, if i get it wrong. as long as nobody is going to get seriously hurt or die (or miss an appointment) i bite my tongue and go with the flow. i dont want him growing up paranoid and anxious like i did 🙂
    catherine recently posted…RosaceaMy Profile


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