So, you wanna discipline your kids?
It’s a difficult task. Believe me!!!
Sometimes this can be very painful. You say “no” to your kids, they become sad, and sometimes anger takes over their minds. And when your children aren’t happy, how can you be?
Kids don’t like to be stopped from doing things. But as a concerned parent, you want to moralize them. But unconscious moralizing can cause long-term damage to your kids’ mental health. But if done correctly and consciously, it will make your child happy and make you a much calmer parent.
Saying No Once is Enough!
Your kiddo just came to you for your consent about doing a thing. You can’t let him do it for some reason, so you say “no.” But your child keeps saying the same thing over and over again, “I have to do this,” until you get frustrated and say yes. Remember! The leniency you just showed will be your biggest mistake. Not only today but in the future too.
When you say “no” to your child for the first time, say it firmly, so you don’t have to repeat it. And let the child understand that your refusal means that he cannot do what he wants to do. Keep your facial expressions strong but not scary to scare off the kid. The tone of voice should be soft but strong. Also, state the reasons for your refusal.
But sometimes it doesn’t happen that way. All your reasonings and rejections don’t work, and you have no choice but to change your “no” to a “yes.” Now the real work begins.
If you change your “no” to “yes,” then your children will understand that they can persuade you by forcing or “harassing” you. In that case, the best way is to look for ways to say an indirect yes instead of saying a direct “yes.”
For example, when I often get tired of my kids’ continuous mulishness, I put some conditions with my “yes.” The other day my daughter Maina, who is seven years old, repeatedly insisted on going to her friend’s house.
I didn’t want her to go that day, so I looked for an alternative to say yes and said, “OK, you can go, but not today. On Sunday, your dad will take you there. You will have plenty of time and can play there for as much as you want.”
She was not very happy about this, but she agreed and didn’t insist further. Later, she went with her father on Sunday and had a good time. So, her wish was fulfilled and so was mine.
Reasons are Essential
It is not enough to just say no. Children do not understand your clear denial. As a result, they repeat the same thing repeatedly and become rude. This will continue until you give a good reason for your refusal. The best and most effective way to refuse is to give your child strong arguments and reasons so that they can understand what you are saying and the denial.
Yes Can Be a No Too!
Children are innocent. They have to face refusals many times because they cannot understand their good and bad. But this recurring refusal can also harm your children’s personality. And the result?
Feelings of irritability and anger overcome them. You may say yes, but actually, it’s a “No.” Suppose your child comes to you and says, “Shall I have some chocolate?“. In that case, you answer him: “Yes, why not? You can eat chocolate, but only after having your lunch.” If he insists on a new toy, you can answer: “Yes, you will get a new toy, but tell me, do you want it on Eid or on your birthday?”
This will have two benefits for your child. Firstly, he will get a chance to get what he wished for, and secondly, he will learn to compromise.
According to the Child Development Journal, screaming at children has the same negative impact as physical beatings. It counts as child abuse. Not only does this negatively affect their character, but it also their emotional development.
Screaming nullifies all your efforts so far to temporarily silence the child – efforts that were largely hoped to be fruitful. But the moment you screamed, all of them and their positive effects disappeared. According to the Marriage and Family Journal, screaming can lead to depression and low self-esteem in children. So, we must learn to talk to our children in a friendly and calm manner.
Repeated requests and obstinacy for something are often a form of boredom. Paying attention to children can help you overcome this. Talk to them or play with them. By doing this, you can immediately divert their attention from that negative thing you don’t want them to do to something more positive.
Respect Your Children’s Privacy
Don’t embarrass your children in front of others. If your child requests something in front of guests that you don’t want to give them, don’t refuse directly in front of everyone. Go somewhere else and clearly state the reasons for your refusal. If you reprove or disrespect him in front of everyone, especially in front of those who make fun of him, your child won’t like it. The worst part is that they’ll start to hate you.
Remember! If you embarrass them in front of others, they will do the same to you.
Refuse But Give a Substitute
By giving children substitutes, you are giving them the impression that you did not reject them. For example, if your child wants to eat candy, you can say to him, “No, my dear! You can’t eat candy, but you can eat an apple.”
And with that, tell your child the health impacts of both and explain what is best for their health. And this is exactly the right time when you can teach them about healthy and unhealthy foods.
Don’t Give False Hopes
It is not uncommon for parents to say, “No, not yet.” If not now, then when? ۔ If you do not keep your promise later, the child will stop believing in you. Give your child a clear time limit for his wish to come true.
For example, you could say: “No, not yet, but we will buy this toy for you on your birthday.” And then do it. Otherwise, your child may suffer from trust issues.
Give Children a Chance To Choose
Giving your kids the chance to choose enables them to pick something on their own. It will make them realize that their opinions and ideas matter. Often, when we go shopping, we buy their clothes and shoes while the children feel indifferent and neglected. This attitude isn’t correct. You are seizing their power of taking decisions. While giving them a chance to choose, we give them the impression that their opinions also matter.
On the other hand, if your child asks you for chocolates when you go to the market, you can avert them by asking instead, “Son, which fruit do you want to buy? At the same time, you can remind them of the talk you had earlier about junk food’s health problems.
When you are buying something like shoes, give them a chance to choose. It’s not like you went to buy shoes and said: “Choose what you like.” No, first choose some shoes and then put those shoes as options in front of your child, and ask, “Which one do you like? If you put the whole shop in front of them, they may choose the wrong shoe, and then you have to reject their choice. Doing so will reduce the importance of their opinion.
Don’t Go Against Your Spouse
Often, if the mother says “No” to something, the child goes to the father in the hope of getting a “Yes.” Similarly, if the father says no, he hopes to get a yes from the mother. This behavior can cause two problems.
Firstly, it increases the differences between the spouses. Secondly, it instills in the child a habit of conspiracy and cunning. To overcome this, you and your spouse should talk about it priorly and decide whether or not to allow it. Both parents must be on the same track to discipline their children.
Saying “no” is hard work. Of course, you want to see your children happy, and it is quite easy if you fulfill their wishes and never say no to them. Screaming is also an easy task. However, all these simple things have negative effects in the long run. So, we need to learn to communicate calmly and effectively with our children. Learn to say “no” to them with strong arguments.
Do you have your own effective strategies of saying a “No” to a kid? Do share it with me in the comments below.
I love to talk with my readers and reply to each and every comment.