Do you find that saying no to your kids is hard?
I know for so many of us it is definitely harder saying no to our kids than we would like.
We take our kids to the store for groceries and a quarter of the way through our trip; our kid is already throwing a fit for a Snickers.
I mean seriously, WTF, right?!
You have all of 40 minutes to get this shopping done, so to save yourself time, you tell your kid to grab the snickers and shush.
Rolling your eyes, you get back to shopping.
I’m with you Girlfriend,
Saying NO IS HARD! But Why?
First of all, it is hard because we feel guilty.
We want to give our kids that momentary joy.
You don’t want them to feel sad. I mean they are terrific kids, most of the time anyhow.
Another reason you give in at times is because of your own childhood story.
Did you have a childhood full of lack? No fun, no candy, no toys? If so you may want to protect your children from that pain.
If you had the opposite? Too much candy, too many toys? You might feel that’s the best way.
Both situations have impacts on how you parent.
Another huge reason we give in to demands from our kids is fear.
As much as we don’t want to admit it, we are scared of our kids.
We are scared of dealing with the meltdowns, the angry outbursts, crying, whining and even the endless bargaining.
Anyone of the situations stated above, tends to have the power to ruin our day.
Who wants that? NO-ONE!
These are totally understandable reasons to give up on saying no. But you can’t. Your kid needs to hear it. Let me tell you why.
It Is Important to Say No!
Check this video out.
Now some of the Dr.’s commentary in that video may seem over the top, but that doesn’t lessen the importance of his message.
It isn’t fun, but we need to say no to our kids. All kids need boundaries and limits. Boundaries and limits help children feel safe and secure.
Saying no is also essential to them learning critical abilities for adulthood.
Our kids should learn to: tolerate disappointment, tolerate frustration and finally they should come to understand delayed gratification.
#1 Tolerate Disappointment
Now we all know that the world doesn’t always cooperate and give us what we want, right?
All people need to be able to tolerate disappointment.
I mean seriously, you don’t want your kid throwing a baby fir at work if they don’t get that raise, do you? I know I don’t.
#2 Tolerate Frustration
After our kid gets terrible news, they might typically freak out. That’s okay.
I mean, as long as they aren’t getting violent, of course.
Being frustrated is part of life. We have to let our kids experience these frustrations so they can learn how to calm themselves down.
The first place our kids will learn social rules is at home & what better place is there?
#3 Delayed Gratification
Delayed gratification is learning to deal with discomforts now for a greater good later. The only way we can help our kids practice this important skill is by saying no.
We can teach our kids the importance of working to gain their desires, as an example.
My son Caiden is currently obsessed with the game Fortnite. He has hounded me day and night for some in-game money that, of course, I have to buy with real money.
Caiden is one relentless kid. Of course, I explained that kind of purchase wasn’t in the budget this month, but he wasn’t ready to give up.
He begged, and tried to negotiate to get what he wanted. It was very annoying. I just wanted to scream, “LEAVE ME ALONE!”
I actually walked away, because I didn’t want to freak out. When I took my own time out, I thought about what I could say to Caiden to get him to stop.
I got it! I told him he could work for some cash. If he picked up the dog waste in our backyard for the month, we would give him ten bucks.
He is seven, and ten bucks seemed like a fortune to him, so he jumped at the chance. And I got out of cleaning the yard, YES!
Granted, he wasn’t as enthusiastic the second week, but he got out there just the same, as I let him know he wasn’t getting the money unless he finished the month. That was the deal.
Nicer Ways of Saying No to Your Kids
While saying no is so important, we don’t want to be the reason, that innocence and light in our kid’s eyes go out.
I get it. So here are some ways you can say no and help your kids learn, without burning their fire out.
#1 Say Yes, with No
Giving your kids an alternative to misbehavior, when possible, is always helpful. Kids seem to freak out less when they have a yes along with a no.
” You CAN’T run in the house, but you CAN run outside, where there is more room.”
#2 The Simple Reminder
We all know the true horror of trips to the grocery store with our kids in tow.
Well let me tell you, it has the chance of going more smoothly if you give them the game plan in the car before you walk in to shop.
” Ok guy, we are here for X, Y & Z, toys and candy are not on the list, and we are not buying them today. Okay?”
It’s not common to get back talk with this sentence, but of course, it happens, so in these instances, I just make a joke of it.
“Oh, Robert your so silly.” Along with a distraction, “Ok now let’s get in there and see how quick we can get this done!”
Be enthusiastic, but try to convey in your tone that it is non-negotiable.
#3 Picture Taking
Depending on your kid’s age, taking pictures of them with the things they want is perfect.
I always mention Christmas, or birthdays are coming up, and we can take their picture with the item, so Mommy doesn’t forget.
We almost always have our phones, right? Use them to take pictures.
You could be out shopping, and your kid asks for that cool lego set.
Say something like, ” Oh Wow, that lego set is amazing. What a perfect Idea for your birthday. Can I take a picture of you with it, so I can remember to get that for you?”
This little trick has been a lifesaver. The younger they are, the easier it is to satisfy them.
If your kids are older, you might have to keep the picture to actually remember the good gift ideat. Lol.
Saying No is important for your child’s development. They need you to guide them and give them limits and boundaries to feel secure.
They learn to tolerate disappointment, frustration and to accept delayed gratification all through you being able to say no.
Remember, you can’t control their reaction, all you can control is yours.
If you have had enough & can’t take the tantrum that may follow, walk away.
It’s okay, we all do it!
In The End
The more positive reinforcement, the better. ” I am so proud of how you responded to no. I know it isn’t easy sometimes. You are growing so fast.”
Know that your kids want YOU more than stuff. Spending quality time with them will lessen their want for more things.
It is important to stick with the No if you have already said it. If you give in, after already saying no, the next time will be so much harder.
Your kid will survive The No. I promise.
Lets endlessly fill our kid’s needs for love & acceptance, and not so much their wants for more stuff!
Do you have any tips that work for you when saying no to your kids?
Please post them in the comments!