Be around a family with children for five minutes and you’re bound to hear the word “no”. We all know kids ask a lot of questions. Half of the time they are asking for something. And half of that time they are asking for something ridiculous or something we don’t think they need. If you do not give them the answer they were hoping for, you could have a massive breakdown on your hands. Kids will beg, plead, scream, and even demand to get what they want. They dread to hear their parent(s) say “no”. It can feel like the end of the world to them. Based on a typical child’s reaction to “no”, some parents are afraid of saying it. That’s right, adults afraid of their own children. It may sound silly to some parents, but its more common than you think.
Not saying “no” can be one of the most harmful things you can do to your child. Structure is crucial for a child to understand concepts like discipline, respect, and authority. If a child gets everything they ask for, they will always assume they can get whatever they want. The only thing worse than not saying “no”, is saying “no” and then giving in. We all see those parents in public. These parents will say “no” over and over and over again until their child completely loses it. That is when these parents reach their breaking point and that is when they give in. And that is when their child realizes how far they can push them. This type of battle can be extremely aggravating, but you cannot forget who is the adult and who is the child. If the begging and pleading begins, stop it before it escalates. You cannot let your child think there is room for negotiation. The best way to stop the begging is to give the child a consequence. Whether you use time-out, loss of a toy, or spanking as their punishment, it’s important to always follow through. Always. In public it can be especially hard to stick to your guns, but don’t give in just because it’s easier. It may seem harsh at the time, but it can teach your child a valuable lesson.
It’s never enjoyable to see your child lash out, or any child for that matter. The screams alone can feel like you busted an ear drum. While your first reaction may be to roll your eyes in the back of your head, it’s extremely important to show your child respect when responding. Show them the behavior you want them to show you. It’s important to stay calm and keep your initial emotions aside. They pay close attention to everything we say and do so it is crucial to be a good role model. With children it is a constant monkey see, monkey do.
Whether it is saying “no” to buying a new toy or to eating cake for breakfast, remember that we, as parents, hold all of the cards. If you make the rules, enforce them. If you have consequences or punishments, use them. We know what is best for our children and being able to say “no” should be one of them. It doesn’t make you a mean parent and they will still love you regardless (even if they say differently). It’s simple, remember to be calm when responding to melt downs, don’t give in to the begging and don’t take “no” for an answer.