---Constant "no" - need help

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-07-2003
---Constant "no" - need help
Mon, 08-20-2007 - 12:29am

Hi Everybody,

My son just turned 4 years old. He developed very annoying habit of saying "no" to almost everything that must be done: brushing teeth, washing hands, eating, going to the shower, dressing up and so on. When it comes to all those tasks - it is always an ordeal. So we try to do it calm without any agrivation. And it usualy comes to: "If you don't wash your hands - there will be no trip to aquarium for you today (or whatever he is expecting that day)". Sometimes it works - sometimes it doesn't. I just don't know if it's a stage that he is going through or what? Me and my husband are just very very tired of it. In general he is a very nice and happy boy; and he realy cares if his mommy and daddy are happy. He likes a lot of things and activities. But if he doesn't want to do something - that's it.
Does anybody has an idea? Any advice will be appreciated.
Thank you.


iVillage Member
Registered: 08-24-2007
Sat, 08-25-2007 - 1:17am
We have learned to say to my 4 year old do you want mommy to help you brush your teeth or daddy. He forgets to argue because he still gets to make a decision and most of the time it works, also with putting him to bed instead of; come on let's go to bed, we say who do you want to tuck you in. Sometimes he says no one but most of the time it makes him realize it's time and he gets to choose who to spend that time with. Good luck

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<a hre

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-31-2004
Tue, 08-28-2007 - 1:30am

Good advice. You can also connect the things he is saying no to with a consequence that occurs later. For example, you might say, "Did you know that little boys who take good care of their teeth get to have treats?" Then if your son decides not to brush his teeth, then the next day when he asks for a cookie or fruity snack or something else that could be considered a treat, you can say sadly, "I'm sorry, but only little boys who protect their teeth by brushing them get to have treats with sugar in them. I'm worried that the sugar will hurt your teeth since you aren't brushing them at night. We'll see if you brush your teeth tonight and try again."

Another example - "After you go to bed is when I rest. If I don't get my rest, it will mean that I am too tired to do fun things with you tomorrow." Then you follow up on that by cancelling a play date that you had scheduled for the next day and taking the opportunity to lay down on the sofa and rest a little. You can say, "I'm really sorry, but I didn't get enough rest last night because you kept getting out of bed. I'm just too tired to drive safely right now. We'll try again another day." Then rest. :)

These responses sound a little bit cloying in writing, I know. But you can say them with utter sincerity in a non-condescending way. Because the truth is that you WILL worry much less about giving him an occasional sugary snack if you know he will be diligent with brushing his teeth. And you DO use the time after he is in bed to rest. They aren't made up consequences - they are just consequences that you are allowing him to experience in order to help him to better understand why you are asking him to do things like brush his teeth and go to bed. You just have to be truly sincere in the way you present them.

Just another idea to add to the already good advice posted....

Take care,