Photography : Baby & Maternity
How to Say ‘No’ Without Saying No?
Portraits of Baby Kyle by Keefe
Sep 2018

We saw a meme once wherein two dogs were having a conversation about what their names are and one of them said, “mine is ‘theresagoodboy’!” We thought it was the most absurd thing we ever saw because come on, dogs can’t really have conversation, can they? But at the same time, there’s so much hilarity in the truth – we do say “there’s a good boy” so much that the dog might have mistaken it for his name. It really made us think about what words we repeatedly say to our children, so much that they’ll mistake it for their names?


The word “No” comes to mind almost immediately.


Let’s be real for a second. If you took the time to count how many times you tell your child “no” within the span of a day, you’d find it equivalent to the numbers of fingers on your hands or the number of hair on your head?


Uh-huh, we thought so too.


The word “no” slips easily through our lips. Whether consciously or subconsciously, it’s the easiest response parents have when it comes to our children. It is the easiest form of discipline, but unfortunately, not always the most effective. The thing is, as parents, we get so wrapped up in raising our children right that we forget to treat them right and that there are actually better ways to get our children to listen than simply yelling out the two-letter word that they dread so much.


We’d like to share four ways you can refrain from saying the word “no” and to overuse it but still manage to get your points across.

  1. You can say what you want your child to do. Instead of what you don’t want them to do. For example, instead of saying “No, don’t mess up the room,” you can say, “Let’s leave the room tidy and put all the Legos back in the box.”
  2. You can offer an alternative. Instead of saying, “No chocolate!” You can say, “You’ve already had chocolate this morning, how about having some fruits as snack instead?”

  3. You can empathize and actually say YES. Okay, this might seem weird, but we’re really not suggesting to let your child have their way with everything. When your child ask you something, for example like, “Mom, can I have some ice cream?”, and you usually reply with a resounding “No!”, try saying, “That’s a lovely idea – yes, let’s have some ice cream after dinner tonight.” You should try it out for a whole weekend and see how much calmer your home becomes.

  4. You can give a reason. Many studies have proven that children are most likely to do as they’re told if they are given some understand of why they are being asked to do something. For example, instead of yelling out, “Don’t throw bricks at your sister!”, try telling them why they shouldn’t be throwing bricks at all. “Throwing bricks at your sister will hurt her. Let’s put them back down and see what we can build with them.”

Parenting comes with a set of never ending challenges. One of the most overlooked one is, in our opinion, the challenge to expand our vocabulary. Rephrasing our words to discipline our children is not only a form of treating our children with the respect they deserve but a way that can actually help our children’s thinking processes to develop more fully. As fine parents in the making, shouldn’t we be looking for nicer ways to say “no”? After all, we don’t want our children to grow up thinking that “No” is the only way we can address them, or worse, the only word we actually know how to say.


Share your experience with us and get a little surprise from BabyAXIOO!

We want to invite you to tell your experience about rephrasing your words. Tell us, how did you say “No” to your children differently? And how has that helped you in parenting your children?

Submit your stories to the link and we’ll send you a little surprise!


We can’t wait to read them all!