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When Your Child Doesn’t Understand “NO”

My son hasn’t always understood what “no” means when we say it to him.
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He’ll stand or sit looking at us with a blank stare.  It’s frustrating when you can’t seem to get him to sit still long enough to listen and then to understand what we are trying to say.  Since our son has speech delays, it is hard sometimes for him to communicate that he understands or doesn’t understand.

Most kids his age are talking in some small sentences and are able to comprehend somewhat that they are in trouble.  But our son doesn’t entirely understand.  There are times when we can tell he understands by his mischievious grin and pretending that he isn’t being bad.  Other times, he gives us the blank stare.

There isn’t much you can do to make special needs children understand “no” when you say it to them if they don’t understand.  What we have had to do over and over again is to tell him “no” and distract him or remove him from the situation.  Since his comprehension of the situation is very low, it is better to do that instead of trying to explain.  If you are consistent and make sure you let him know that you still love him, your child will eventually start to understand.  Not all special needs children will truly understand why you tell them “no” but eventually they will understand that they have to stop what they are doing because mommy or daddy said “no.”

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It’s a frustrating and lonely path because not everyone understands your child like you do and they sometimes equate lack of understanding with lack of discipline.   There are also some parents who refuse to say “no” because an expert told them it wasn’t productive.  It’s up to you how you want to let your child know that what he is doing isn’t acceptable.  There is no right or wrong way in parenting because each child is different and each special needs child is also different in their own way.


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