One parent asked how to answer the “NO” response from her 7 year old son, and the power struggle that often ensues after, such as saying NO to doing his reading and losing favorite toys because of the behavior.
To start, let’s see this from a completely new angle. For parents, “NO” looks like non-compliance. From a boy’s perspective, it’s a power-grab. It’s a way to lure you in, keep your attention (even though it’s negative attention). You can view it as a healthy desire to be strong and in control that’s gone a bit too far. And realize that he’s conditioned you into these power brawls.
Now, the fix. Tell him he has a choice to do his reading (or whatever he needs to do at that moment), and it’s entirely his choice to follow the rules. If he follows, he gets praise… special time later on… maybe a treat that night after dinner. If not, you will ignore him 100% and walk off. Don’t look at him or allow him to engage you no matter what he does or say. He will try everything to pull you back in (maybe even try ignoring you). His goal is to make you angry. Don’t take the bait – remain calm and ignore. After he’s settled down, you can ask the request (calmly) again, and add something like “I hope you can make a better choice this time… I hope you can earn back your privileges… you’re smart and i think you’ll find a way.” Don’t get caught up on getting 100% compliance right away, but rather work toward increasing compliance slowly via this method.