"No". It's is a tiny word with seemingly one definition, unless you're saying it to a child. Children take poetic license with the word "no," coming up with endless interpretations of those two little letters. You might think you're being direct and firm in your parenting style by providing them with such a straightforward response but here's what your child actually hears when you say "no".
"Please do that again."
Toddlers are like publicists in that they don't believe in bad publicity. Once they've got your attention, they're going to keep doing whatever caught your eye, kind of like how Justin Bieber refuses to wear a shirt.
At least you can be glad you're raising an optimist.
"Ask me again and I'll change my mind."
Blame this persistence on all those Disney movies that teach kids to "follow your dream" and "go the distance". Maybe you need to show them Frozen again so they can learn how to let it go.
"Repeat after me."
If your child is at that age when they are just starting to use words, then this sucks. Because even though you want to be firm and stick to your guns, you're thinking, "ZOMG my baby is talking," and then you break character and try to get her to say it again so you can take a video.
"Everything you're doing is perfection."
If you tell your child to stop doing something and they continue as though you gave them a standing ovation instead, chances are Grandma is nearby, because your child knows she would never let her precious angel baby be wrong about anything.
"Ask me again in five minutes."
Okay fine, a kid's perception of time is different than ours. But their short term memory should work well enough to know this isn't going to end well.
You would love to have a talk with the teacher that introduced your child to "Opposite Day."
"This discussion isn't over."
If your teen wants to keep trying to convince you to extend their curfew after prom and you've made up your mind, feel free to put on headphones and ignore their pleas. But if they are clever enough to clean the bathroom and do the dishes before broaching the topic again, then you might just be a parenting genius.
Sure, it's as rare as seeing Blue Ivy's face, but there are moments when your kids actually listen to you the first time you say "no".
(image: Luis Molinero/Shutterstock.com)