Know to No – Saying No to Kids and Actually Mean It

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“Beta, TV time is over; it is time for dinner, common, switch it off.”

“I want to see cartoons now, dinner later!” said Abhi, engrossed in watching TV.

“Beta, you are way past your dinner time anyways, please have it now, you can watch cartoons later.”

“No! I want to watch TV! No dinner! Abhi threw his usual tantrum.

“Ok Fine,” said a concerned and defeated Veena.

Parents are biologically programmed to cater to their kid’s every whim and fancy to keep them happy. The happiness witnessed on the child’s face gives parents satisfaction like no other and always aims to maintain that smile on their beautiful faces all the time. Amongst all the dopamine being felt in this blissful scenario, it is a humongous task to say no to those puppy eyes and cute faces when they demand anything unreasonable.

Whether it is a young child throwing tantrums or a teenage kid being obnoxious, children make it extremely difficult for parents to say no.

Children sometimes go to heights of being smart alecks and take advantage of parents by making them feel guilty to get their way, some also try and be overly sweet and manipulate them to get the desired result. Then some parents fulfill every wish coming out from their kids’ mouths because they feel guilty of not spending enough time with their kids and want them to only feel happy and positive about the time spent together and end up saying yes to everything.

External influences like media, culture, and company play a big part in defining parent’s behavior as well; the idea of comparison and ‘not having’ what the other kid has sometimes left kids with a feeling of inadequacy and hurts their self-esteem, compelling parents to fill in the gaps.

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As harsh as it may sound, parents should condition their children to listen to and comprehend a ‘No’ especially during the following situations:
– When a task can be done without any requirement of interference, it is imperative to say no to develop a degree of confidence and independence in children.

– When plans and activities change, children might throw a fit; it is crucial to say no at this time; such situations build flexibility in children.

– When they are about to hurt someone, it has to be reciprocated with a stern ‘No’ This feeling should be taught and remembered lifelong by kids.

– When it comes to strangers, kids need to be taught never to ‘go anywhere with anyone unknown’ or with anyone they have not permitted.

– Fulfilling children’s wants to a limit is ok, but saying no to the seemingly unlimited wants of children is advised; saying yes to needs is advisable.

– It is a strict no-no when something the kid wants or is doing something against your own beliefs and value system. Ultimately, it is those same values that we need to imbibe in them.

– If you know that you would regret or resent something in advance, it is better to say no rather than being bitter about it later.

Saying no to kids can be tricky, but is a necessary task for their good. Below are some artful ways parents can say no to their kids:

– When they are in their complete stubborn element, distract them! It is the easiest trick in the book.

– Say no definitively, don’t say it half-heartedly, say it as you mean it.

– Always back your ‘No’ with a complete explanation, chances are that you might get through to your child, and he might let go of his unruly behavior.

– Stand your ground no matter the level of the tantrum, do not cave in.

– Tell your child what you want them to do instead of what you don’t want them to do. This way, you change the negative connotation into a positive one.

– Give children alternatives; their demand can be substituted with some other activity enjoyed by them. E.g., playing can be replaced by drawing at home.

– You can substitute the ‘No’ with a ‘Yes,’ i.e., a demand for playing outside can be met with a ‘Yes’ with a condition, i.e., you can bargain with your child for some other important activity.

Saying no to kids and not giving in to the primary parental instinct is essential for their development. Apart from the fact that it would save a lot of resources, time, and bring about general physical well-being, it also helps them build resourcefulness, determination, and self-esteem. Saying no helps kids get acquainted with dealing with disappointment. It makes them open to finding solutions rather than staring at dead ends.

“Mumma, I want that cricket bat! I want it, I want it, I want it!”

“Son, yes, you will get the cricket bat, only if you show me you can finish homework before playtime every day.”

“I will finish it well before playtime Mumma! Please get me that bat!

“Well mister, then the bat is your court, you give me timely homework, I give you your bat.”

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