Friday, May 1, 2015

Six reasons we sometimes need to say no to our children

It seems in this age that parents struggle increasingly to say no to their children. "No you can't have another biscuit". "No you can't have a mobile phone because Ralph has one". "No you can't stay over at Annette's place when I don't know the family". "No we aren't going to McDonalds tonight".  "No you can't play that online game any longer tonight". Parents vary in terms of their parenting styles along a continuum from permissive to more authoritarian, and I've seen fine young people emerge from families with quite different styles. But it seems to me that irrespective of whether your style is permissive or towards the more authoritarian end, all children do need to hear the word "No" at times.

Why? Here are my top 6 reasons we need sometimes to say 'no'.

#1  Failing to get something that you want, helps to make you more grateful when you do.

#2  We learn from failures, and by not always getting our way or the things that we want.

#3  Being told 'no' is arguably the greatest contributor to understanding the failures of others and developing empathy.

#4  Learning to accept a 'no' helps you to learn how to say no to others; an important key to self-control and preservation.

#5 Having people who love you saying 'no' teaches you a great deal about what true love is.

#6  Being told 'no' helps to develop endurance and determination.

Of course teachers can also have the same problems with saying no. Being able to say 'no' is a great gift from a parent or teacher to a child. But when you do say no it is important to remember a few basics:

  • First, always try to explain why you are saying no. This will help children to grasp that you actually want what is best for them and that you value them.
  • Second, be consistent! There is no point saying 'no' once and then giving in to the same thing an hour later.
  • Third, never say 'no' simply in anger. Yes, at times kids make us angry, but your delivery of a 'no' should be delivered while under control and focused on their good not just punishment.
  • Fourth, don't allow your children - when faced with a no - to engage in a debate; they need to respect your authority as a parent and your right to say no.
  • Fifth, don't allow your children to work one parent against the other. In my family a no to one parent was enough. You need to shut down this type of manipulation by not allowing the child to split parent opinion down the middle.

Good luck saying no.

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