Many parents may have a hard time trying to explain the whys of “NO”. Although it is important to explain why they’re saying no, parents should not fall into the trap of over-explaining and over-negotiating everything. Children need to understand that no means no, and too much explanation or reasoning often leads to compromising and changing the rules to accommodate them.
Are you teaching him NOT to listen?
Whenever you tell your child no, (eg “No, you cannot have that piece of chocolate before dinner”), does he question your authority or decision? And do you keep talking to try to get him to understand the reason for that decision?
You may eventually get tired or feel pressured when he keeps asking for chocolate, or perhaps he promises to eat all his veggies in return, and you give in to him. What you are doing is actually training your child not to accept the rules. As your child begs, wheedles and asks, he realises that he can get what he wants if he keeps at it long enough, or promises something in exchange.
Taking no for an answer
Teaching your child to accept no can be quite a challenge. And even more, when he is already used to getting his way around you. However, here are some ways in which you can turn things around to your benefit:
- Establish boundaries early: Parents should establish their authority when their children are still very young by setting up limits or boundaries. The longer you put that off, the harder it will be to change your child later on. Just as you wouldn’t let your 4-year-old son near a pool without supervision, you can set limits, like going to bed at 8 o’clock every night, with no questions asked.
- Taking some time-out: Sometimes, children get too excited or stimulated and refuse to listen or respond to what you have to say. When this happens, you can give your kid a little time-out. Take him to his room, or sit him down someplace quiet and let him take a 5-minute break. This often gives a child enough time to recover, and then you can talk to him firmly, letting him know his limits clearly. Ask if he can do what you want him to; if he can’t, he has to remain in his room until he agrees to obey.
- Don’t compromise: If your son or daughter talks and argues back to you, just say no and walk away. Certain rules should not have to be compromised and if your child does not want to comply, it does not mean you have to change the rules to suit his fancy. If you give in to him every once in a while, he’s going to learn that he can manipulate you to get what he wants.
- Set the rules: The best time to explain rules and concepts for your child to understand is when things are good. Sit down and explain, when you say no, it means no, and there should be no further discussion. If he gets frustrated when he doesn’t get his way, coach him in ways to feel better. Get him to do something he enjoys that can calm him down, like playing with his toys or drawing. It is very important to teach your children this from young as giving in to tantrums will only cause them to challenge the boundaries you set for them.
Teach, coach, limit
There is no avoiding that your child will sometimes have temper tantrums and fail to see your point of view. Setting boundaries and rules should not be compromised and all parents should understand that setting limits is a crucial role in parenting. As your child grows up, this will help him in accepting no as an answer and prevent a rebellious attitude. Remember, however, to always separate your child from the action. Children pick up negative vibes easily and they may think that you do not love them when you scold them. Remind them that although you are not happy with their behaviour and that they should not repeat it, you still love them.