Trying to raise your children to be content with everything they have while being responsible can be a tough task.
Indulge them too much and you risk raising a spoiled brat, highly dependent on his/her parents (even after the childhood phase).
Say “no” more than necessary, you’ll be potentially deterring their curiosity, growth, and drive for knowledge.
This brings me to the main question today:
How Often Should Parents Say Yes?
To this, I answer: only when it is a reasonable request that helps them grow; be it physically, mentally, emotionally or spiritually.
If they wish to go outside and play, it’s better to say yes. If they want to go on a picnic. Why not? If they’ve finished everything, let them hang with their friends.
The TRUTH Behind Your “No”
We don’t realize how much we say “no” out of our own selfishness. We say it when tired, when we’re moody, when we want to sleep in… For so many useless reasons!
Preventing your children from being active, from satiating their curiosity, from learning, without a valid basis (No, wanting to watch your TV show is not a proper enough reason), isn’t fair to them nor their well-being.
IN FACT, this can have many negative consequences such as;
- Addictions towards electronics/food – what else can they do when they don’t want to be bored to death and aren’t allowed to explore the outside world?
- In-activeness – Possibly leading to obesity/loss of muscle tone..
- A shut-in/shy behavior etc.
It’s important we recognize this because discipline and punishment are two different things and both our actions in regards to them can effect and shape our children for the rest of their life. Here’s a very good post about Disciplining an 11-Month-Old which is written by Sheree over at MrsMomDrWife. A great read!
A Meaningful Denial
As long as it’s not a request that harms your child or anyone in the surroundings, it’s best to be flexible and perhaps make compromises. If something shouldn’t or can’t be done, make sure to provide a reasonable explanation as to why.
Knowing when to say no is good…But
Knowing HOW to say no is just as important.
For example, rather than “No picnic tonight.” opt for a response like:
“Sorry hun, it’s pretty late out right now. The picnic won’t be as enjoyable and they’ll be lots of mosquitoes. Tell you what. Let’s have the picnic tomorrow morning. I’ll even play a round of soccer against you.”
Children only have an abstract idea of what “no” means.
Therefore, instead of saying it explicitly, it is better to make them understand why not, while putting into action the 4 steps of active listening. This is way better than sticking to the black and white “yes or no” replies.
If you find yourself snapping a lot and can’t help but scream “NOO” across the grocery aisle, maybe you should look into relieving stress alongside learning to “parent” (It’ll help a lot).
For example, I know my own sister is dealing with a lot of anxiety and stress due to work and her husband and her financial situation. I can see that this is taking a bit of a strain in her relationships with her children as she just doesn’t have the time or energy to deal with their ‘mishap’ behaviors.
For more self care tips for parents, check out our blog post on how to look after yourself as a new mom here.
You can also get some fantastic essential oils and use stress-relieving tools from IvyAndTwineEssentials.
The Loopholes in Thoughts
Now, sometimes children DO get needy for things out of desire rather than need, yes you can indulge them on special occasions (birthday, Good report card..), but in these cases, try to redirect them to a more understanding mindset.
The best way to do this is by asking questions. Help them find the loopholes in their thinking. For example,
“Will you use it for a long time?” “Do you think you’ll ask for anything similar again?”
Gradually, if it’s not a must, they’ll back down on their own.
What About Money?
That being said when it comes to buying things for your toddlers and giving them money, I recommend giving them a set allowance for the month to teach them responsibility and the importance of money.
In conclusion, when it comes down to disciplining your toddlers or young children, ask yourself whether if it’ll benefit your kid’s development in any way (socially, mentally, physically, or spiritually). If the answer to the latter is no, you’ll have a reason to say no and vice-versa. For obvious reasons, if your children’s requests are dangerous or risky or too much for their age, before even continuing, you’ll already know to say no.
Also check out Joey Tracey from JoeyHTracy where she talks about all things parenting. She has one particular blog post on her site that talks about discipline where we often as parents have a short fuse, our expectations often too high and in turn our discipline can somewhat be too hard. I think we can all, as parents, relate to this! Check out her blog for all things family, home and life!