Parenting your children doesn’t mean saying no to every little brat that storms up the porch. There are a few things you should be saying no to, and by doing so, you’ll have less stress with your kids and less conflict in your home. Saying no to brats is easier than you think, because most of them just want our approval and will act out when they don’t get it. Here are the five most important things to say no to your child.
First of all, be careful not to say no to your own kids. It’s fine to say no to a friend who is causing you grief or drama. That is completely different than saying no to your own offspring. If you’re going to be a good parent, you will choose your friends and associates. Children learn from their parents, so if you choose to spend time with those who cause trouble, be ready for some tough love.
If you absolutely must invite someone over and you think that they might be a troublemaker, refuse to let them come. No matter how nice your child is, there’s always a chance they’ll ruin everything you’ve worked so hard to create. Also, refuse to give your child rewards just because you think they deserve them. It’s cruel and manipulative. It sets up a dependency with your child on you, which can only serve to foster more rebellious behavior down the road.
Next, make sure to say no to visiting relatives. Even though you might like to see your Aunt Fanny or Uncle Sam every now and then, your child needs a lot more variety in his or her social experiences. Let a trusted neighbor know when you want to spend time with your child in a different location. Your child needs to meet new people on a regular basis. If you insist on seeing your Uncle Ed every week, your child will start seeing him as a father rather than a friend.
Another thing that many parents say they’re done with is chores. While you may still have to do yard work and laundry and keep the house clean, you don’t have to do it all yourself. Ask your child what he or she wants to do and leave it up to them. It will give them a sense of independence and help them grow up to be responsible and independent.
Parenting advice columnists often espouse the virtues of letting children make decisions and decide what they want to do. This is a good idea, but parents say no more often when their child does something they don’t like than when they say yes. If you do decide to let your child have a say in things, be sure to take them off the hook in the early years. Say, “Thank you for sharing, now I won’t have to.” Your child will learn that if they do something that you don’t like, they should say thanks or appreciate you for the same.