Saying no is your responsibility
Christina Steinorth, licensed psychotherapist and author of the upcoming Cue Cards for Life: Gentle Reminders for Better Relationships says to look at saying no to your children from time to time as an "investment in their future."
She says, "Your responsibility as a parent is to teach right from wrong. If you don't teach your kids this no one else will."
She adds that saying no helps to teach kids limits — something they appreciate: "Although your children may fuss at being told no, kids need and appreciate limits because it shows them that you care."
She adds, "You can go in softer and still be effective by telling your children what they can do, in addition to what they can't." For example, she says, "Tell your children, ‘Not today, but we can do that tomorrow.'"
Dr. Ramani Durvasula, licensed clinical psychologist, professor of psychology and mom of two, says saying yes can be like a drug. She says saying yes "may make your day easier or nicer for a few hours and it might make you feel good to get their cheers. But in the long term think about what drugs do — put your life asunder, make life chaos, ruin relationships and make it hard to integrate into society. By being a yes-man you may create kids who can't play well with others, have trouble making good decisions as adults and teens, are unable to soothe themselves and may in fact be at greater risk of turning to less than optimal methods to cope."
Stephanie Owens, MA, coach, speaker and author says, "Save it for when you really mean it. Saying no, then caving in dilutes your authority and credibility." She adds being consistent is very important when saying no.
She suggests instilling the invisible no by saying, "Yes you can watch a video as soon as you put your dishes in the sink." Owens says, "Kids are more apt to comply with a response that starts with 'yes.'"
Lorraine Esposito, PCC, CVMC, says that if you, as a parent, are compelled to say yes all the time — try to get to the root of why. She adds, "Usually just clarifying why you're compelled to say 'yes' all the time leads to a solution."
She advises if you find room for change and improvement, go for it. She says, "Start by remembering the promises made to your kids when you had them. If saying 'yes' to a later bedtime moves you closer to fulfilling a promise to your child, then say yes. If not, then you have a very good reason to say 'no.' It all comes down to knowing how to qualify a response."
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