Saying NO

The word NO has a lot of power. Say 'no' as little as possible, but don't stop your children from saying 'no' to you.

Saying NO

According to most parents the golden rule of parenting is that their children should never turn to them and say 'no'. When children use this word to their parents, it seems to portend disobedience and rebellion. In an ideal world our children will bow down to every request we make, our every wish will be their command and they will never, ever question our authority. But wait a minute. Is this really how we want our children to be? To never use their own individuality, and to follow orders blindly? Certainly not. We all want our children to be able to stand up for themselves, and to be able to say NO in situations later on in life.

Teach your child to say 'no'

If you keep punishing your child every time he says no, or keep insisting without giving reasons that he must listen to what you say "Because I said so," you will be curtailing your child's individuality, and your child may not find it easy to resist peer pressure in his teens. You have to keep communication lines between you and your child constantly open, and constantly explain to your child why you want him to behave in a particular manner. Do not resist arguments, and don't stop your child from expressing his mind. What seems to you like an argument may actually be communication and an exchange of ideas.

Curtail your use of the word

At the same time another mistake parents often make is to say 'no' to their children far more often than is necessary. It becomes such a habit that parents often automatically say no to harmless requests. If your asks you for something, think about it for a minute before saying no. Why are you saying no?

Interruption: Is it because it would be an inconvenience to you? If your child gets a sudden urge at midnight to go to the neighbourhood store for a cup of ice-cream, you are completely justified in refusing his request. When children are very young, there is little they can do on their own. So, saying yes to them would mean a certain interruption from what we were doing. Parents are not super-beings, and it would be unfair to expect them to bow down to every wish of their child, but every now and then, wherever possible, try and say 'yes' without making your child wait endlessly for their request to be fulfilled.

More work: Parents also say no when it means more work for them. At this juncture, instead of saying no straightaway, parents should make the child promise to clean up after himself wherever possible, and let the child shoulder the responsibility.

Risky: Over-protective parents deny their children many occasions for fun and personality development because of the risk involved. If the risk involved is minor, like a few bruises, let your child go ahead and try it. By doing this your child will develop a lot of self- assurance and confidence, and will learn from his mistakes. Don't be afraid to let your child make mistakes. Better now, than when he is a full grown adult.