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When he doesn’t get his way, my son tells me to “Go away!”
Q: My son likes to say "Go away" or "No way" when he doesn’t get his way. I asked his day care if they allow him to speak this way, and they said it is acceptable since that’s the way they let other children know they want to be alone.That may be good at school, but at home, he says that when we tell him he can't do something he wants to do. Any advice?
A: Children have to learn that there are “home behaviours” and “school behaviours” and that they are not always the same. I would try to make very clear to him that he cannot order you around in this way. If he wants to be by himself, help him learn to say, “Let me stay by myself, please.” And respect the request, if possible. The different impact of a request accompanied by “please” and one that is not is dramatic. Help him understand that, “If you say ‘please’ in a nice voice, I am more likely to do what you want me to do.”

With the “No way,” the same sort of approach should work. Get face to face with him and say firmly, “You do not say that to me. If you do it again, you’ll go straight to time-out” (or miss some treat, or some type of deprivation that will be meaningful to him).

As a final point, make certain that he isn’t just imitating you or his father. If he hears you say those things all the time, he will also say them. Children learn more from the way we act than they do from what we say.