JUST SAY NO!
Just say NO! If we want our kids to say no to drugs, alcohol, shop-lifting, bullies and the proverbial jumping of the bridge, they need to know how it’s done. As parents, if we wait for media, music or movies to do it, it isn’t going to happen. Yes, our kids spend much of their days at school. The other 17 hours of their days are spent with us.
Kids live what they learn and learn what they live. If they are going to learn how to say no and mean it, we are going to have to show them. They might get sad or mad. They might tantrum, kick, hit, fuss, cry, scream or slam the door. They want to know what it is going to take to bend your “no”. We need to show them that, when we say it, we mean it.
Does this mean we always have to say no? NO! (Sorry couldn’t resist that one). There are many opportunities in our daily routine to say yes. In fact, sometimes we can substitute in a “Yes, when” for a “no”. For example,
“Yes, you can have that cookie when we have a snack this afternoon. Let’s put it aside now and get some breakfast.” instead of “No! You know we don’t have cookies for breakfast. What is wrong with you?!”
Whether your child is 2 or 22, she or he needs to know that no means no. Whether it is about being denied a second cookie or denying someone who is trying to “get a little closer”, your child needs to know that when she or he says no, she or he means it and can stick to it as long as is required.
Here are some tips to teaching that no means no:
1. Decide on the rules for a situation and when you will say no.
2. Understand the values/reasons for the no so that you can feel confident in saying it. When you feel more confident, you are able to stay more calm and your kids will get that you mean business.
3. Tell your kids the rule and why/when you will be saying no: In our family, we don’t believe in listening to music that is all about sex. No, you cannot buy that CD today or next week. It’s not what we do. You can buy…
4. Acknowledge the child’s disappointment – s/he has a right to her feelings and needs to learn ways to express them respectfully. (We can help you with that).
5. Hold to your no. If you know you are going to cave, then go straight to maybe. If you just say yes, you will save a lot of time and breath.