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It’s Okay To Say “No” To Your Kids

Parents who have said ‘no’ to their kids would know the after-effects – screaming, crying and tantrum-throwing. But besides the ugly after-effects, have you ever wondered why it is so hard to say ‘no’? According to psychologist, bestselling author and parenting expert Dr David Walsh: “When we are with our kids, we want them to be happy and have positive feelings about the time they spend with us. So, we end up doing things they will like, and we are reluctant to say ‘no’.”

However in reality, the good parent should become the bad cop sometimes because it is important for your kids to hear you say ‘no’. Here are 3 reasons why.

1. Setting Limits

Saying ‘no’ to a child allows said child to constantly test and stretch their limits further in search of their own limits. Therefore, it is important to implement discipline and rules from a young age. Psychologist and freelance counsellor, Linda Lu shares that with consistent parenting, children will understand what is acceptable and what isn’t.

2. Training to Cope with Uncomfortable Feelings

Dealing with uncomfortable feelings is part and parcel of life and is something your kids should learn and accept. Preventing your child from experiencing normal emotions can be harmful in the long run especially if you’re always saying yes to them. Instead, use the opportunity when your child is upset to teach them about feelings. “This is a great skill that will help your child become a responsible adult,” explains Linda.

3. Because You Care

Being young, your kids will naturally thirst for attention but, giving in often doesn’t do them any good. On the contrary, having no rules to follow causes anxiety in kids as they would think that mummy and daddy do not care enough to set rules for them.  As said by Christine Khoo, mother of two: “I’ve made it a point to limit my child to just three sweets per day. It was hard initially, but I’d always explain what would happen to his teeth if he had too many sweets. Understanding why I am doing this has helped my child take ‘no’ for an answer much easier because he knows I care for him.”  

Originally published in “The Art of Saying No”, written by Shaistah Munawar, in Singapore’s Child June 2014.

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