Trusted local news leader for Prescott area communities since 1882
Thu, March 21

Column: Parenting the word ‘No’ when it means so much more than just ‘No’
'Raising Prescott'

Along with my 5-year-old son’s newly found ability to have conversations with my wife and I, one word has burst into the spotlight that continues to cause concern.

“No!”

“No, no, no!”

“Noooooooooo!”

Yes, that last one indicates a scream from A.J., who instead of listening likes to say “No” to pretty much anything these days.

Of course, A.J. has said “No” since he could mutter words at the age of 2, but never with such meaning, nor with a sheer level of strain it causes his face when he relentlessly spits it out.

Dealing with a 2-and 3-year-old toddler saying “No” is a bit easier than a 5-year-old who stands 4-foot-2 and weighs about 75 pounds.

If you’ve met me in person, you understand the physical nature of my previous statement. I’m 6-foot-8, and my wife is 6-foot, thus tall children run in the family.

Before writing this column, I thought about a few situations he said no recently, and why, and came to this conclusion: His “No” usually follows a “No” from my wife or I, because we’ll say, “No television right now A.J., it’s time to clean up.” Or, “No more dinner, it’s time for bath and bedtime.”

Let the “No’s” rain down!

And sometimes, yelling, punching a wall, throwing an object and general out of control behavior follows. This, of course is a rarity, but it has happened.

The word “No” typically coincides with disappointment, thus the issue. So how do we deal with it as parents? Timeouts? Spanking? Try to talk through it?

I’ve used all of the above, and sometimes each situation calls for something different.

Longtime child behavioral specialist James Lehman, MSW, believes “de-escalating” the situation and redirecting the child towards something positive is the best course of action.

Lehman says some children experience a “sense of panic” when they see something not in their control. He adds that the blame game isn’t going to help. Instead focus on, “How can I teach my child how to manage things today.”

Moving forward, I’d love to hear from readers what they think, or how they’ve handled certain situations when their children have gone through this phase. Email your thoughts and maybe we can discuss next time. I look forward to hearing from you all!

Brian M. Bergner Jr. is associate sports editor for The Daily Courier. Follow him on Twitter, Instagram, Periscope and SoundCloud at @SportsWriter52, or on Facebook at @SportsAboveTheFold. Reach him by email at bbergner@prescottaz.com, or by phone at 928-445-3333, ext. 1106.

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