How do you discipline your child without saying No?

Catherine Mogil, PsyD
An important parenting strategy is redirecting rather than saying No, Don't, Stop, and Quit. Redirecting shifts the child’s attention and gives the child a more appropriate alternative. For example, if a child is starting to color on the coffee table a parent may say, “Look at this wonderful paper I’ve brought over for you. It’s better to color on paper than the coffee table." Oftentimes, this will work, helping avoid a negative interaction with the child. There are things that parents must tell a child not to do but using redirection regularly can result in words like NO, and DON’T being reserved for only very dangerous situations leading these words to have more meaning for the child. For example, the child will know when the parents say, "Don't run in the street" they really mean it.

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