Angry Child - NZ DadsWhat is the one word that can be translated in different ways depending on age? NO! Kids hear it as “maybe”, “possibly”, “oh what the heck! Go ahead kids” where as parents we mean it as denial, refusal or not at all. How can a simple 2 letter word be so derisive in a family?

No – the word NO used as adverb, noun or adjective is thought to come originally from Old English word Na. First recorded in approximately 900 AD, this is the most commonly used word by parents of children between 1 year to 18! It’s a necessary word, a learning word and word of warning but how not to wear it out? There’s a mystery! So here are some possible alternatives – let me know if they work for you.

“Negative” – this term can be used ideally on children who like war games, army movies etc. It must be said in a loud, snappy tone with a follow up of a rank, e.g. “You want to use your sister’s doll for target practice? Negative Corporal”. Alternatively “negatory” in a Sergeant Hard-Arse type voice might work eg: “That’s a negatory solider, no throwing the baby out the window to see how gravity works.”

“Express dissent” – this useful phrase can be said to the more dramatic members of your tribe; usually teenage girls requesting the latest iPhone or a date with the unsuitable boy. For example ;“I must express my dissent and dismay as I am to decline your request, although I knowest it will break your heart my sweet blossom.” Throw in a low bow from the waist and a haughty tone in your voice. Extra points if you then flounce away before they do.

Alternatively, you can express dissent without using the phrase. Try this one on your teenage terror,…er, light of your life: “Nay fair princess, I must say nay, not as the stallion or mare, but as a berefted father who reluctantly refuses his shining light, his beautiful blossom, his princess fair.” (Use a melancholy voice as you slowly walk away head bowed, as if in great distress.)

“Computer says NOOOOOO” – Very “Little Britain” (see Suitable for teenage boys. Said in a flat, uncaring tone usually finished with a half hearted cough up close and personal to the questioner’s face. To be repeated in the same tone at the end of any statement or question versions made to you. Do NOT add any other statement or reason until questioner is finally fed up and walks away in disgust.

The Thesaurus statement – When given a chance to respond to a question or request the Thesaurus statement is ideal for children ages 9 and up. Eg. “I reject your request, you have been refused approval, not in any degree or manner; not at all, you have been officially denied;” said in a long drawn out manner with a robotic tone. Extra points if you can add in further negative statements.

“Refusal may offend” – Similar comments are commonly used by shops or department stores so why not follow their lead? “Refusal may offend, but that’s just too bad” is the most popular use of this phrase.

The puzzle technique- You could try the roundabout question. “There are two people in this room, and one of them is about to say “No”; guess who?” You could break it down… “I’m thinking of a word, it has two letters, an N and an O, in that order.”

The voters choice – Ideal when working with your partner, the request is made, then you call for a vote with the statement eg: “All those in favour say Aye”; allow for dead silence for 3 seconds then say “All those opposed;” then you and your partner raise your hands; “The nays have it. Now, next on the agenda.” This must be a coordinated process and some practice will be necessary. Most commonly used at the dinner table.

Finally there is the informal statement No can do”. Short, sharp and to the point, probably the most popular of the “No” methods. Can easily be changed to No, can you”; “No, boo hoo”; No not you”; No for you”; ect.

Life is tough as a parent and I how you’ll find some relief to the “no-ing” in your life. What’s the best or worst NO you ever received or given?

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