Maria goes live every other week, answering your questions, in the Empowering Kids with Character Facebook group. For this one, she talks about the importance of saying no to your children and gives us some healthy ways to say this.You can watch the video here.

Maria started by reminding us that saying “yes” to our children, just to reduce temper tantrums, isn’t healthy and doesn’t help our children with realistic expectations when they’re older. Our children need us to be their parents and not their friend. She also shared a Chinese proverb that says, “Parents who are afraid to put their foot down, usually have children who step on their toes”. Ouch!

Maria then gave us three points about boundaries and why saying no is important, as parents:

  • Boundaries are OK because they help our children to feel secure. You’re teaching them, early on, that it’s OK to not get everything you want. This is a long-term realistic life skill of hearing “no”. Children who throw tantrums, when hearing “no”, are experiencing an emotion and trying to express this emotion (tantrums are an important part of child development!). They don’t have the language to express this yet (when the tantrum is throwing themselves on the floor). When they get older, this tantrum will turn into words. As an adult, we then need to respond with a go-to phrase. Maria’s is “I love you too much to argue” and she’s able to do this without an emotional response – she’s able to stay calm. The purpose of this is to be non-sarcastic, not joking, and be calm.
  • Delayed gratification – this teaches your children that it’s OK to have to wait for something. For example: they CAN have dessert AFTER they’ve eaten their dinner. If you’re frustrated with always saying no, find a way to say yes, in a way where you’re still in control of the situation. Another example Maria shared was that if your child is asking for a sleepover, instead of instantly saying “no” (because you’re in a busy season of life), say “Yes, you can have a sleepover when we have a free weekend. Let’s go look at the calendar and see what weekend would work for that!”
  • Kids need parents to be parents, not friends. The more you say yes to your children, the less control you will have in your home. It’s important to create a home where the parents are in control, not the children.

These were some great tips and I’m looking forward to implementing them in my home – especially the delayed gratification! What about you?

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Remember that Maria alternates these videos between her author page and the private Empowering Kids with Character page, which provides more ideas on the monthly theme and also support from fellow parents and educators!

Transcribed by Mandy Bush, Executive Assistant