The work ‘No’ to a child can get a variety of reactions. You know, the huge blow-out fit, the whines, the eye roll, the stomping of tiny feet, etc. It can be a hard spot to be in when you are standing in the middle of the store and you know the build up is coming as you approach that last end cap of candy…. Your child asks/points and requests to add it to the cart, but do you need it? No. Is the fit going to happen when you tell your child that answer? Maybe. What are you going to do about it?
Say it with me…. No, nope, not today. Sorry, but no maybe next time.
Telling your child ‘no’ is not the end of the world. Its something we need to be doing more of. If the fit happens, you must work though it! In the adult world, we get told ‘no’ daily, all the time. We work though it and process those steps. Allowing your child to have “xyz” all the time and always saying ‘YES’ is setting them up for a fake dream world.
I understand the fits, and the whines can be overwhelming and exhausting. The more they hear the word ‘no’ and can work though what that means for them in their world and process that effectively is setting them up to be able to problem solve and realize that the world is not just for them, we share it with others and our actions effect other people.
So in the store, you tell your child ‘no’ to the candy as you are checking out and the full blown fit explodes. HOLD STRONG. People may stare, who cares! Let it Go! Likely you will not see them ever again in your life and the ones with kiddos will silently be saying, “Yea, I know how that goes.” Explain to your child the reason. The whole “because I said so” reply doesn’t cut it. Give them more than that, they deserve an answer in a way they can understand. Give them the reason and an alternative. “You can’t have the candy at the store, but you can have those cookies we baked after dinner tonight.” Or “You can’t have the candy at the store, but when we get home you can eat the yummy fruit we just bought.” Whatever fits your reasoning. Give them the two sides, make it simple for them.
But what if that doesn’t work? Then they will need to process, and you will need to further work on this communication with them. Explain, don’t let your emotions/embarrassment get the best of you. We MUST tell our kiddos ‘no’. They need to work though these emotions; we don’t always get what we want when we want it. If you are dragging your kiddo out of the store screaming, its fine. Its truly fine. Take a deep breath, don’t give up on them. Work with them. Allow them (and you) time to calm down. Then take the time to reexplain until they come to an understanding. They might not fully get it this round or even the next, but you have to keep trying and working though it every single time.
You’ve got this! Keep trying, keep communicating! Remember, telling them ‘no’ is not the end of the world. They must learn how to process being told no and you must take the time to work though the meaning, emotions, and resolutions with them.
Lead Pre-Kindergarten Teacher