“Mommy, can we get this?” “I want it!” “I don’t have this!” “Pretty please?”
Sound familiar? Saying “no” to your child is never easy, however, you can set the boundaries without being seen as the mean mommy or daddy. When saying no to your child, explain your reasoning and your answer should be consistent with your other behaviors. When your preschooler demands a pack of gum in the checkout line, let her know you don’t have enough money with you for treats, but you’ll consider it for next time. Experience shows your children DO understand, as long as you respond honestly and genuinely.
If your child continues to nag, you can empathize, by saying, “I know you love gum, so do I. We need milk and bread more than gum right now, so can you help me out and put that back?”
Once you’ve said “no”, stick to it. Don’t falter even if your child fusses or tantrums. Or my favorite tactic with my 5-year-old when he “oohs and ahhs” over a new toy in the store is to say, “What a cool toy! I see you really love it, let’s add that to your birthday or Christmas list.” Works every time. To make sure you are not seen as simply the “bad guy”, make sure your relationship is open and make yourself available. Few families spend time with their children, which can cause children to become needy and demanding – and have family fun time, laugh, joke and be silly. By being easy-going and present, you can set healthy boundaries with your kids and they’ll feel that your relationship is based on trust and honesty, not on how many toys or pieces of candy you buy them!
For more great parenting tips, check out Kimberley’s book at www.TheGoToMomsGuide.com.