It is sometimes so hard to say no to my daughter. To look into those big blue eyes and practically destroy her dreams of being a flying fairy, when in actuality, she has (heavily) sprinkled glitter all over herself and the floor, and is in the process of leaping from the sofa to a chair on casters! I envision her glittered little self sailing across the floor to no doubt crash into the wall or the curio cabinet . . . she envisions her glittered little self flying freely through the air, not a care in the world. You might as well call me “The Dream Killer”, because as soon I say “No!”, she breaks down into this emotional puddle of fairy dust and I am left with nothing but glitter and a hungry vacuum cleaner.
Telling my daughter no or disciplining negative behavior is an essential, albeit unpopular, part of parenting. Yes, it takes patience. Yes, it hurts her feelings. Yes, I will be the bad guy — but not forever. It would be so easy to give my daughter everything she wants. To allow her to do everything she wants to do. To give in to the tantrums and the begging and pleading. But what would the true outcome of that be? I would have a spoiled, indifferent, ungrateful, entitled child who would most likely feel no responsibility for her actions and not have any regard for anyone but herself.
I don’t want to let someone like that loose on this world, so here are a few things I tell myself when the going gets really, reaaaaallly rough:
This too shall pass. We all know the attention spans of little ones can be virtually non-existent. Let’s be real; our attention spans are often virtually non-existent! If your child gets angry with you for saying no, let it go. She won’t be mad forever, and in the end, she will appreciate you for standing your ground with her.
It is often for their safety. As illustrated in the story above, children often have no concept of fear or consequence. Therefore, saying no and shifting the play in a different direction helps to ensure safety while still allowing imagination to flow freely.
It can either negate or encourage inappropriate behavior. All small children have tantrums. Period. Two things can happen when a tantrum occurs. You can either find a way (whatever works best for you and your child) to adjust the behavior while staying within the boundaries you have set, or you can give in to the tantrum and allow it to control you. By doing this, you may be sending a message to your child that tantrums are okay and throwing them gets him what he wants.
It brings opportunity to reward good behavior. We expect our children to be good and do as they are asked to do. When we see that they are striving to do that, it makes giving them a little prize or treating them to a surprise adventure so worth it! They feel a sense of pride, and so do you!
It helps them later on. Children who are not disciplined at home will most likely not handle being disciplined elsewhere very well. As they get older, they may expect that rules do not apply to them, thus making them spoiled and entitled. There are plenty of people like this in the world. Please, for goodness sake, don’t let your kid be one of them!
Just remember, telling your child no is not the end of the world — for you or for them. You are the parent and he/she is the child. You are the one who has been given the awesome responsibility of raising this little person; not the other way around. Those big eyes can be blinding, so put on your “Kid-Proof Mommy Glasses” and JUST SAY NO! May the Force be with you . . .