When should you say no to your child?
Get an expert's advice on why this is good for your child.
As your child grows up, they learn to make their own choices. Whether you are happy with your little one’s choices or not, most parents like to indulge their kids as much as possible. Nowadays, parents rarely want to refuse anything to their child. But child psychologist Laura Markham shares when and why you should say no to your child.
Experts advise about why you should say no to your child
Laura Markham, a child psychologist and the author of Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids says that when you say no to a child, they think inside the box. The child shuts down as they feel that their initiatives are shut down. So, as a parent it’s important to give your child some sort of affirmation even when you need to say no. But she also explains that there are certain situations that demand you say no.
So Mom, here’s why you should say no to your child.
For your little one, it is important to hear a no sometimes. It helps in setting healthy boundaries and limits. This, in turn, helps their emotional, physical, and mental development. If you never say no to your kid, then that will leave them unprepared for the real world.
When to say no to your little one
According to Laura Markham here are nine situations when you should always say no to your child.
1. When you are in parking lots with your child
Parking lots can be risky places for tiny people. Children are short, and drivers may fail to notice them. So, you should tell your child no to running around and no to leaving your side. You should teach them to either hold your hand, or bag or belt loop — anything that they can reach. Dr Markham says, “They can be killed. That’s not something you mess with.” She advises that you should be transparent yet empathetic with your child.
2. When your child is hurting others
Your little one may find it funny to pull the ears or tail of dogs or cats. But it’s a sure shot “say no” situation. Your child may not understand that they are causing pain. So tell your child that they are hurting and it is not okay to hurt someone. Dr Markham suggests that you show compassion and say things like “Poor kitty, poor doggy. Be nice to kitty.”
3. When they are part of a bullying situation
Whether your child is witnessing a friend getting bullied or is bullying someone else, you should immediately stop them from doing this. Dr Markham says that even if it’s not your child who is being mean to another kid, make sure that you explain to your child that it is not okay to support bullies.
4. When your child is involved in destroying personal property
Dr Markham explains that there may be occasions when your little one is mad at their sibling. Following a child’s natural response, they may tear up their brother’s things or destroy something else. As a parent, it’s important for you to teach that personal property needs to be respected.
5. When your kid is undressing in public
Your child may suddenly throw a fit in the middle of a road. And they may want to take off an uncomfortable dress right there. But Dr Markham explains that parents should say no to their kids at such times. She explains, “Bodies are wonderful — they’re strong, beautiful, and special — but some parts are private and you don’t share them with everybody.”
6. When your kid misbehaves in a restaurant
Dr Markham says that when you are dining out in a restaurant it’s natural for kids to get stepped on, get in the way of the waiter and so on. When kids are misbehaving, you should stop them from doing so because other diners should be able to eat peacefully.
7. When you are on a flight
When you plan to go out for a holiday with your little one, make sure that they are well-behaved on the plane. If they are kicking the seat, playing with the tray table or being a nuisance, maybe it’s time for you to say a firm no to them. Also, it’s important to stop them if they are being loud on a plane. Teach them the importance of communal space.
8. When you teach them about strangers
According to Dr Markham, telling your child a no when they are engaging with a stranger can be tricky. They see us interacting with unknown people, and it’s also important to make them understand that not all strangers are bad. But they need to learn that they should never go with someone they don’t know.
9. When your child wants to make plans with friends
Many times you may be faced with situations where your child has made plans with a friend, but then they suddenly find another offer from another friend. In such cases, you should say no to the other offer and help your child stick to their original commitment.
So Mom, it is important that you say no to your little one in such tricky situations.
Republished with permission from: theAsianParent Singapore