We all have had those moments where the only word that comes to our mind is “no” when our child is not following directions or isn’t on his or her best behavior.

We as parents need to remember that sometimes using the word “no” can be more harmful than helpful. Hearing “no” too often can make it hard for the child to stay on track with appropriate behavior and know what needs to stop. If saying no is a reflex for you, your children may become confused, not understand why you’re saying it and have a hard time realizing which part of their action is wrong.

Redirecting is the best way to get children to stop and unwanted behavior. When we redirect them to something constructive, we can praise them for the new behavior and motivate them to want to replicate the proud reaction they get from mom and dad. This, in turn, helps them learn which behavior is OK.

We often forget that our children have feelings until we have hurt them. Once that point has been reached, we have to backpedal until we are back on track, and after a while, this can make our patience run thin because we blame ourselves for the child being upset when our goal is for them to be safe.

However that redirection doesn’t work for all kids, and if this is the case, try to avoid using the word “no.” Instead, explain why the action isn’t a good idea so the children understand what is wrong with what they are doing. This article from Parents.com has some great ways of getting the point across without using that word.

Parents and teachers, children have feelings too; if we remember this, we can help our children grow in a positive environment, and we won’t feel like the bad guy for wanting to keep them safe.

-Amanda Weiss (Bravo Employee)