Instead of starting a sentence with that provocative word “no,” start a sentence with a word that gives you a chance to be heard—”yes.” Then follow up your yes by making your point in a positive way.
(Evonne Weinhaus and Karen Friedman. Stop Struggling with Your Child. Harper Collins Publishers. 1998)
The yes method doesn’t mean you’re wishy-washy, and it doesn’t mean you always allow your child to get her way. Everyone wins with the yes method. If the yes method sounds like something you need to cultivate, then start practicing the “yes-but” reply.
“Yes, you may play outdoors, but you must wear a heavy jacket and only stay out 45 minutes.”
“Yes, you can read books during naptime, but first you need to finish your lunch.”
“Yes, you may watch the video, but first you need to help me with the dishes.”
…Parents say no to their children’s requests much more often than they say yes. Without thinking and for no good reason, the no just tumbles out!
So for the creative parent, here’s a good rule to follow: If you don’t want your children pouting and nagging you into changing your mind, only say no when you are absolutely sure that you mean no and won’t under any circumstances change your mind.
(Dr. Kay Kuzma. A Hug and a Kiss—And a Kick in the Pants!)