Parenting is not the same as it used to be. As the world changes and becomes increasingly fast-paced and convenience driven the way we interact with our kids is changing too. It’s vital to your child’s development that you are able to say no to them on occasion. Don’t believe us? Here’s why.
Why are you afraid to say no?
It’s important to ask yourself what it is about saying no that doesn’t sit right with you as a parent. Whether you vowed to never be as strict as your own parents or you just want to give your kids the most positive childhood possible it’s clear that the times are changing. Leading child psychologist Clare Rowe says it is important for parents to learn how to set boundaries early on.
“One of the biggest changes in parenting in the last 20 years is the increasing inability to say no to children. Perhaps this is driven by the guilt of full time working parents, the avoidance of feeling like the nagging ogre parent or the easy route to avoiding the tantrum that comes after hearing the word no. Either way, it is a problem, because saying no to your child is a necessary and vital part of their growth and development.”
Why it is good for you to say no
Children are naturally curious and experimental. These days we are afraid that denying them this curiosity will crush their creative spirits. But the truth is kids will try anything! As their parent it is your job to teach them why jumping on their bed is a bad plan but jumping on a trampoline is totally fine. As Clare explains, saying no is an opportunity for you to teach your child right from wrong:
“I try and remind parents that they are educating, not disciplining. In other words, learning doesn’t happen all at once, and restraining your child’s free will is a long term goal of teaching patience, manners, social skills and tolerance. Child’s desires are practically endless. Quite simply, children can not have what they want all of the time because they have far less life experience than you do, so of course you know better!
Yes, this means that at times your child will hate you. This is not a sign of a terrible parent and if you need your child to like you all of the time then you cannot do your job.
I try to encourage parents to say ‘yes’ as often as they can, but when they need to say no, to say it with conviction and never never change your mind!”
Find more from Clare on her website or Facebook.
It doesn’t mean you love them less
Sometimes saying no is easy - “Mummy can I eat ice cream for dinner?”. And sometimes it’s a bit less clear cut - “Mummy can I make a love potion with your spice rack?”. It can feel like not giving your child what they want just proves you don’t love them enough to give them everything. Don’t buy into that guilt! Turn every ‘no’ into an opportunity for discussion about a bigger issue - like safety - and it’ll both teach your child something valuable and help you to remember why you said no in the first place.
From junk food on every corner to Internet videos giving them risky ideas about jumping from the roof into the pool - parenting just isn’t what it used to be. Embrace the challenge of raising kids in this day and age and remember saying no is just as important as yes.