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Saying no

Discussion in 'Early Years' started by thumbshrew, Feb 5, 2011.

  1. My daughter, training as a nursery nurse at a sure start nursery, has just been told that it is a matter of policy that no staff member should say "No" to a child.
    Now I'm not, for one moment, in favour of negativity, but....
    What do others think. Does anyone operate within a similar policy?

     
  2. My daughter, training as a nursery nurse at a sure start nursery, has just been told that it is a matter of policy that no staff member should say "No" to a child.
    Now I'm not, for one moment, in favour of negativity, but....
    What do others think. Does anyone operate within a similar policy?

     
  3. InkyP

    InkyP Star commenter

    That's ridiculous. I think we work with the results of that kind of policy in the home.
     
  4. NellyFUF

    NellyFUF Lead commenter

    It is some kind of defence against the kind of poorly trained worker who is negative with children. For them to find other strategies for managing behaviour is useful. The other extreme is well, thinking here of a parent who in their fight to not be negative, gives such a barrage of verbal instruction *** explanation, that the child has no idea what they should be doing and this is just as harmful.
    I was told by a good nursery nurse I once worked with to always state what I wanted and not to harp on about the undesired behaviour. So sit nicely is better then stop wriggling for example. In the end, saying "no" can be a way of giving attention to undesirable behaviour.
    But there are children for whom it is beneficial to have a little sit down with a firm "no" even supported by Makaton signing. I once taught a child who needed further - "no screaming" and funny thing was, this caught him by shock and it worked. And then he could settle down, play and learn. So horses for courses. But as a rule of thumb, saying "no" routinely is probably not the best course of action for many children.
     
  5. NellyFUF

    NellyFUF Lead commenter

    I wonder what the stars are for?
     
  6. I agree that some workers might be negative with children, however I think this often takes the form of unfocused rants against children who have annoyed them rather than the use of the word "no". We would serve these workers better by training them in child development (presumably that is already in the training) so that they don't take children's mistakes personally and are able to analyse situations in an objective (and kind) way in the light of that understanding. These 'negative' workers are likely to be too lenient with children until suddenly a point is reached when they don't like that child's response and they want to stop it. Telling them not to say no is not going to be of much help. In fact, very often they need to learn to say no at the right point, whether they actually say that word or find another strategy which stops the child. They need to learn what limits to impose and how to impose them consistently.
    I would argue that judicious use of the word no is a valuable tool. Children understand the word, and it is one of their first words, and meaningful for them (I'm judging by my 18 month grand daughter's utterances here!). It is short, to the point, and unequivocal. Also, we all have to learn that, on occasion, we are not going to be able to do what we want - a difficult but useful lesson. Is it wise to pussyfoot around it with vague but positive phrases in order to avoid 'no' when 'no' is what we mean?
    I'm not arguing here against the strategies of offering distraction, positive alternatives etc., or against telling children the reasons for the boundaries imposed. That is all good. But the word no is good too, in the right context.

     
  7. By the way just to clarify, my daughter wasn't pulled up for overuse of 'no', she was at training where the new policy was introduced to all staff.
     
  8. inky

    inky Lead commenter

    Some stuff requies an explanation - for example why it's necessary not to bolt across the road. I agree with thumbie on this one.
    Of course, it's always a shock when a four-year-old, when asked to do something, responds with NO! But when that happens I do ask myself who wins the battle of wills at home...
     
  9. Of course we want our children to be able to say no themselves when they need to, it is an essential life skill. I wouldn't want any child of mine waffling about when they need to say no and mean it. If that involves saying no when we, personally, want them to be obedient, so be it. We have to learn to cope with that.
     

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