By Jodi Milner

Jodi Milner author/bio pic

If your household is anything like mine, it feels like you have to tell your kid “no” a million times a day. Chances are, every time you do have to say “no” your kid reacts, and not in a good way. Yes, there are times when you HAVE to say “no,” like when your kid is in danger and needs to listen immediately. But for everything else, there is a little trick that can change the tone of the discussion from a fight to a compromise.

In Psychology Today, they teach a parenting technique called pivoting. Instead of saying “No, we can’t play outside right now” you change the same idea into a “yes” statement that means the same thing. “Yes, we can play outside after the rain stops.” The word “yes” is an instant win in any kid’s mind. They are getting what they want, albeit conditionally. 

Not only does a “yes” statement help avoid a possible tantrum, it sets expectations and realistic limits. “Yes, you can play video games as soon as you finish your 20 minutes of reading,” lets the kid know that you will let them do what they want, but you want something in return.

yes statement

As with all techniques, consistency and dependability are the magic tickets to success with a “yes” statement. If your kid knows you aren’t going to change your mind, but you’ll do what you promise, then they are far more willing to do as you ask.

Try this: Sometimes it’s hard to come up with a good compromise, especially if your kid catches you at a bad time. Prepare in advance so you don’t have to think about your answer at the moment and possibly promise something you aren’t willing to deliver. If you haven’t done anything like this before, it might take a few tries before you get the hang of it. That’s okay.  

Storytime: We’ve been doing the whole virtual school thing. Of all my kiddos, it’s the youngest who’s struggling the most with being motivated. I finally put a rewards system in place where he can get rewarded when he finishes a subject. It’s not fancy, I literally made a list of fun things ranging from rock, paper, scissors, to me making him a fun drink (cocoa with sprinkles, anyone?) and then issued the challenge, “When you finish your reading assignments, you can roll the dice.” Instantly, the attitude shifted and I had a tool I could use to help him continue to work. Is it a perfect solution? No. I still find him upside down in his chair when he’s supposed to be doing his work. But, it’s better than just telling him to get work done or threatening to take things he enjoys away.

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