#6 – Teach Your Child to Respect the Answer “No”

Prevailing parenting culture assumes that it is our job as parents to keep our children happy all the time.

Shouldn’t I Keep my Child Happy?

The popular idea that “I must keep my child happy all the time” rests on a misleading understanding of what makes children happy. Saying “no” less might seem like it is making your child happier. But that is only the short term. However, in the long run, your child feels better internally when she knows the boundaries and the expectations.   

Setting a clear limit and following through with your decision is one of the best ways to let your child know that he is not in charge at all times. There are times when it is appropriate for a parent to say no. It is okay if your child doesn’t care for this reality, but it is so important for him to understand that it is okay if all things don’t go his way.

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It’s Not Working. What am I Doing Wrong?

You can say “ no” all day long, but if you do not come across as confident, your child will quickly read through the lines and come to his own conclusion that you don’t mean what you say. Children want to know that the adults in their lives are in charge. No is a word that is under-used in current parenting culture, and even when it is used, often adults do not stick by it. So, first and foremost a parent needs to come across as someone who means and does what they say. Their message should be expressed in a calm and confident way. They should also communicate with an expectation of obedience. So, you must be a “MEAN” parent–a parent who “MEANS” what she says.

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Lessons for Life

No one can do or have everything that he/she wants. When we teach our children to respect the answer “no” we are helping them to respect the rights of others as well. We are also helping them to understand limits and become a person that fits in socially in society.