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How to say no to your child

If there’s one thing parents have to be masters at, it’s telling their kids “no”.

That’s because when kids really want something, they can be very persistent and drive moms and dads nuts. Especially when they start throwing a tantrum. You must know how embarrassing that can be when they start screaming, stomping their feet, or worse, lie on the floor and wriggle around, flailing their arms. It can also be heartbreaking when they’re politely asking for something, but whatever they want is just something that you cannot give to them at the moment, or is something bad for them.

Whatever the circumstance may be, it’s your responsibility to assess what they may and may not have or do, as well as for you to set boundaries so they know when they’ve crossed the line. By asserting yourself as the parent, they will learn to respect your authority and know when you mean business. The earlier in their life that they learn to accept this, the better you can establish the foundation for all forms of disciplining in the future.

Before we share with you how to say no to your child, it’s important to first be clear on when it’s okay to do so. According to Psychology Today, there are certain reasons when you should not let your children have their way. One is when their actions might cause harm to themselves or other people. If they could get into an accident or hurt someone else, then you have all the right to stop them in their tracks. The trick is to provide them with a safer alternative which allows them to do something similar in a more secure environment.

Tip: Instead of saying no, use alarming phrases like “Danger!” or “Careful!”

Another is when they’re demanding for something that’s obviously not a necessity and just something they want to get their hands on. It’s crucial that you be firm during these moments, since you won’t always have the budget to succumb to your kids’ every whim. After saying no, let them know that you validate their feelings and see the good qualities of their preferred toy or item. Don’t feel trapped into buying them something else.

Tip: Instead of saying no, say, “I won’t buy this for you, but I can see why you’re interested in this.”

There will also be times when your little one will constantly ask for your help in doing things when they can accomplish these entirely on their own. Consider that they may just be lacking confidence or are afraid of making a mistake, so be ready to guide them along the way so they have a greater sense of independence and competence.

Tip: Instead of saying no, “I think you’d do a great job with this. I can do it first, and then I’ll let you try it.”

These are just a few of the occasions when it’s alright to say no. At the end of the day, the key is to let his voice be heard and for you to communicate the reasons behind your decision. By encouraging a dialogue, you are allowing him to express himself and for him to see your good intentions in declining. The debate also teaches the invaluable life lesson of listening to and understanding someone else’s position on a matter.

In the spirit of fairness, provide him with other options so he knows that you are only keeping his best interests at heart. Through the process, he may realize that he doesn’t actually need what he is asking for in the first place.

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