Saying NO to your children can be VERY difficult but, children need to hear NO!
Otherwise how will they learn to deal with disappointment later in life or to be thankful for what they do receive?
As parents we want to give our children everything!
If using the word NO makes you cringe, this is probably what you are telling yourself…
“I want them to have the things I didn’t have growing up!”
“They don’t understand the reason for saying NO and I feel bad, I’ll push the issue when they’re older!”
“I can’t stand the screaming and whining, might as well give in now instead of later.”
“He/She is sooooo cute, I mean really… who can say NO to that face!”
Whatever you’re telling yourself, I’m sure it’s just as good as the reasons listed above!
It’s very important to set boundaries early on. You’d be surprised at how many solutions a little word like NO can accomplish once your children understand the meaning! You’ll avoid grocery store meltdowns, toy store tantrums, Dr’s office pestering, and more.
Now, just to be VERY clear, we’re not talking about saying NO, we’re talking about meaning NO! These are 2 totally different situations. If you say NO and change your mind then you’ve lost the battle and you shouldn’t have said NO in the first place.
How do you teach your child that NO means NO?
The most important thing you need to remember is that when you say NO… DON’T CHANGE YOUR MIND! Trust me, if your child thinks you have a crack in your armor, they will break it open! This is VERY important!
Don’t be quick to say NO if you’re not totally sure. Your better off to think about your answer first and determine if NO really is the best answer, rather then have NO quickly roll off the tongue, regret it, and change your mind.
Children don’t understand that you’ve re-evaluated the situation and decided that NO wasn’t the best answer. They see it as you ‘GAVE IN’. That means that next time you say NO they will be expecting you to ‘GIVE IN’ AGAIN!
It doesn’t matter whether you change your mind 5 seconds after you say NO or if it’s been 5 hours since you’ve said NO, this teaches your child that if they are persistent enough, they will eventually get what they want.
Having a persistent child means… temper tantrums, whining, pestering, etc. All the behaviors we dread as parents!
And don’t be fooled, just because your child is not talking yet doesn’t mean they don’t understand what you are saying or asking of them.
When my oldest daughter was about 18 months, she was playing soccer in the house with my brother. Now, at 18 month her vocabulary was VERY limited. I asked if she wanted me to hold her granola bar, until she was done playing, and she ran it over to me. My brother looked at me with a shocking look on his face and said “she understood what you just said?!”
So do you think there is any doubt in my mind that she wouldn’t be able to understand the word NO??
When do you start saying NO to your children?
At about 6-8 months! As soon as they are crawling and starting to explore and getting into things. Teaching your child the meaning of NO as a baby can also help to avoid behavioral problems parents sometimes run into with their toddlers.
And YES, you will probably have to tell your baby 1000 times or more ‘not to pull on the TV chord’ before they finally get it! Consistency is VITAL!
Once a child learns that NO means NO, they also stop getting upset when you say NO, they stop whining and pestering you after you say NO, and best of all… when you are out in public, you don’t have meltdowns and temper tantrums when you say NO!
Because lets face it, you’re gonna have to say NO almost every day (probably multiple times a day!), use it properly and find alternatives to the word NO, you’ll never regret it!
Your children will thank you for it! (well… probably not until they have kids of their own) but eventually they will 🙂
Remember – NO is a very small word that can make a HUGE difference in your daily activities.