No Means NO, child

No Means No – such a small word that carries so much weight for your child.

“Can I have a piece of candy?’ My daughter asked me one morning, right after breakfast.

“No, we aren’t going to have candy right now. It’s too early.” I said,

What followed was not my best mom moment. My child began to ask repeatedly for candy. I repeatedly said “no” and the scene ended with my daughter trying to climb onto the counter to reach the candy. I took her to her room where she cried for several minutes and we both ended up tired and frustrated.

How can one avoid this scene, or at least improve the situation? Getting your child to accept your answer of “no” and move on can be easier with some time and training.

Give a short explanation to your child

Your child will better understand your reason for saying “no” to them if you give them a reason. Amy Cameron, Olathe mom of three says “When i tell them ‘no’ I usually give them a why. I think they’re more likely to accept my answer when they understand.” Make sure your answer is short and to the point. If your child asks for a new toy the answer can simply be “No, we can’t afford to buy a new toy today.” Be careful not to get pulled into back talk or responses like “All my friends have one.” Keep your response short. “I said no.” and if your child continues to engage, walk away and do not look back.

Be consistent with your child

The key to training your child that your answer stands, is to remain consistent. Once you have decided to say “no”, do not change your mind. By giving in after you have said “no” you are teaching your child that you can be worn down if they are persistent enough. “Consistency is key.” says Janelle Waldron, mom of five. “If I say no, I don’t change my mind. I also try to take my time answering. That way I don’t say ‘no’ too quickly, and I can make a better decision.”

Talk later

Talking about your rules and expectations is particularly important to do when your child is calm and you are not in the middle of discussing whether or not your child can have something they asked for. After the fact, sit down and let your child know that when you have made a decision, it is final and you will not change your mind no matter how much pleading and pestering they do. If the begging continues you will walk away and will not discuss the topic further. This is also a good time to explain why you say no to things. Typical reasons are – the activity is not safe, they are not old enough, you cannot afford it, it is not healthy, it goes against your family beliefs or values. These are not reasons that are debatable. Keep your discussion calm and listen to your child. Let them know you understand why they are upset with your decision but you will not be changing your mind. Give healthy suggestions that can help your child deal with their anger in the future. Some ideas could include –  go to their room and calm down, take a walk, scream into a pillow, or do something they enjoy like reading, drawing, or building Legos. Keep the discussion positive and if it starts to get heated, walk away.

It is easier to start the training process at a young age, but it is not impossible to start at any stage of parenting. Training can take months or years as your child pushes the limits and tests you for inconsistency. Parenting is always a challenge but raising a child that understands healthy boundaries and safety is worth it.

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