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A two-tiered ice-cream, the third piece of candy, watching television for the fourth hour in a row – all these are situations that could have you in knots and itching to say NO to your little one. But it is only the fear of having a showdown with her that is holding you back. It is important, however, to put your foot down and be firm with her at the right times.
As a parent, it is our responsibility to ensure that our kids get the things that are best for them. Now, kids may not necessarily agree with everything we say or the limits we set for them. However, remember at all times – you are not responsible for their acceptance of your limits, but just for their implementation. So, brace yourselves for some tough negotiation or none at all as the case may be, ahead.
Getting over your Mind Block
The first stumbling block to conquer is making up our own minds about setting limits for our little one. The earlier this is done, the better it shall be for all the parties concerned. You have to mentally prepare yourself with the fact that this is in the best interest of your little one. Once this is done, refusing the night-out at a new kid’s house, purchase of toy just like the other kid has, or even 2-minute noodles for breakfast, lunch and dinner may not be so tough for you.
Setting The Guidelines
As you go along, chalk out the areas that you would like to begin with. The initial challenge would be to get the message across that mom and dad now mean serious business. Hence, try and pick areas that are known to have a clash of opinions – this is only to drive home the point that ‘no’ is now a definite option. Discuss the guidelines with her before you start applying them. Springing it on them has not helped anyone ever.
Discussing Them with Your Partner
Speak out your plans with your partner – your guidelines as well as your reasoning. Not only will this help in bringing both of you on the same page, but it will get you another perspective and help you thrash it out better with reasoning. Thus, you are better equipped with your reasoning when the little voice pips out with demands to know ‘why’.
Negotiating with Them
Be sure that ‘no’ won’t change. Be firm with your decision; this is why reasoning your decision with your partner beforehand is important. It helps you make sure your decision is right, and therefore stick to it in the face of all and severe opposition. Once you have announced your decision, offer to explain your stand once. After that, you don’t owe your little one an explanation. Try talking to her after she has let off some steam, to reason once again.
If you are in a spot where the little one comes up with a solution that seems like a win-win for both, reserve your answer. Think it over and discuss it with your partner, if need be. You have the right to do so and give an answer over dinner or the next day, depending on the gravity of the topic in discussion.
Be Prepared for The Backlash
Rest assured that you will bear the brunt of this hara-kiri you have committed by refusing your princess something. This may be in the form of the silent glare over the dinner table, no return flying kiss as she steps into her school bus, etc. Brace yourself for this too.
Saying ‘No’ is one of the most difficult things to do, but it is very necessary to imbibe discipline in your child. One last suggestion- Learn to count backwards from a gazillion to one; it should help you keep patience in these testing times.