Saying “no” to your children

The life of a parent seems to change and evolve as the year pass. Parenting techniques and strategies seem to also change like the seasons. Setting limits with your children is something that has been a topic of conversation for many parents. The ability to say “no” to children seems to be something that parents struggle with. Parents find it much easier to say yes to avoid embarrassing meltdowns or parents are sometimes worried that saying “no” will damage their relationship with their child. I can tell you from over 28 years in the child care field and 14 years as a parent, you will not damage your relationship with your child if you tell them NO and meltdowns are ok for children to have.

It is our job as parents to provide limits and prepare our children for adulthood. We are here to teach, love, and guide them…. not to be their friends. Granting their every wish and giving them everything that they want does not teach them skills that they will need when they attend school, join the workforce, or navigate relationships. Children need to learn at an early age that life is about compromise, teamwork, and flexibility. Having everything your way is something that ends when school begins.

Giving children choices instead of saying no is a great alternative: Example: “I will not buy you that toy that caught your eye in the grocery store. BUT, you can either put that on your birthday wish list or do some helpful chores around the house to earn that toy”. Giving children choices helps distract from the fact that they are not getting their way and starts their mind thinking of what they can do rather than what they can’t. Remaining calm when saying no and simply providing a reason is a great strategy. Inserting more emotion into a situation is never a good idea. Stay calm and don’t cave!

Your child may yell and cry when they don’t get their way now, but trust me, when they grow into responsible adults who are compassionate and responsible, they will thank you!

If you say no to your child, it’s important to show that you mean it.

  1. Give a Definitive Answer.
  2. Offer a Short Explanation.
  3. Make it Clear You Won’t Cave In.
  4. Follow Through with Consequences When Necessary.
  5. Deal with Your Emotions in a Healthy Way.
  6. Make Sure You’re Saying Yes Often.

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