Discipline Phrase: “You don’t have the freedom to…”

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“You don’t have the freedom to…” is a phrase I got from On Becoming Preschoolwise page 78. I love it. It seems to be a phrase that leaves no room for rebuttal. Everything from “you don’t have the freedom to tell mommy no” to “you don’t have the freedom to XYZ without permission.”

With this phrase, my tone will change from time to time based on the seriousness of the offence. As a general rule, I try to stay pretty nonchalant in my manner of speaking. It is frank, to the point, but lacking emotion in any direction.

This leaves room for some shock/dismay/surprise/etc. when the offense is especially serious. This would be saved for moments of disrespectful speaking toward a parent. “Whoa, (look of surprise/dismay–head cocked) you do not have the freedom to speak to your mother like that.” You might notice that I take away the contraction. Instead of “don’t” it is “do not.”

This phrase lets my children know that they have overstepped their boundaries. They know their actions or speech is not acceptable. It is good because not only does it tell your child something he did was unacceptable, it tells him what it was. You aren’t simply saying “that’s not okay,” you are using a real noun or verb. This phrase offers concrete information for your child to process, not just an ambiguous idea or best guess. “You don’t have the freedom to…” has served us well.

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Valerie, also known as The Babywise Mom, is the mother to four children. She has been blogging on Babywise and general parenting since 2007. She has a degree in technical writing and loves using those skills to help parents be the best parents they can be! Read her book, The Babywise Mom Nap Guide, to get help on sleep from birth through the preschool years. You can also find her writing at Babywise.life, Today Parenting, and Her View From Home. Read more about Valerie and her family on the About page. Follow her on FacebookPinterest, and Instagram for more tips and helps.

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  1. TeamOSM
    September 8, 2009 / 1:10 AM

    Oh, my! What an awesome post, Val. I haven't made it this far in the -wise series, but your posts lead me to believe that I need to continue in my -wise journey. I love this tip! Thank you for posting. =)

  2. stephanie
    September 8, 2009 / 3:38 AM

    wonderful! I totally plan on incorporating that into my daily language, not only at home, but in my classroom. Middle schoolers will respond to this nicely! Thanks!

  3. Plowmanators
    September 22, 2009 / 9:26 PM

    You are both very welcome!

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