Every parent wants their children to be happy, which is why it can be so hard to say no. However, research shows that the most beneficial parenting style for infant development is a mixture of compassion and clear boundaries.
A monumental tantrum can put a dampener on the loveliest family evenings. When kids act out, scream and plead, giving-in can be a tempting short term solution to end the conflict. Nonetheless, parents must beware that too many concessions can result in becoming a slave to their children’s demands.
Learning to be assertive is essential in raising a child that is capable and self sufficient. Setting boundaries and sticking to them will teach an infant to delay gratification and tolerate the inevitable frustrations experienced in later life with resilience and grace.
This article teaches you when to pick your battles and take back authority. Following through on a clear and decisive ‘no’ without escalating conflict and creating consistent limitations that will make your child thrive in a reliable sense of routine.
Young infants do not yet have a strongly developed reasoning faculty to make informed choices. As an adult, with years of life experience, it is up to you to prevent the child from harming themselves or others.
For example, a child that is about to handle an electrical socket or touch a red-hot stove should be lectured on the danger of such an endeavour. Lest, the child repeats the behaviour once out of sight of parental figures.
Another instance might include bouncing on a couch or mattress. Children need help making sensible choices, therefore an adult might direct them to a safer activity. Thus, teaching a youngster to delay gratification.
A child that understands safety and patience will be an appealing playmate. It is much harder to socialize children to play well with others when they have only experienced being treated like a tiny emperor.
The ultimate aim of parenting is to produce competent adults. Consequently, kids need practice mastering difficult tasks. This essential training is denied to an infant if every little thing is taken care of for them.
It may be enticing to quickly tie their shoelaces and button up their jacket, especially when in a tremendous rush to get out the house. Yet, this robs them of a vital opportunity to develop proficiency and independence.
These incremental successes build confidence and self-esteem. Something as simple as setting the table gives a sense of contributing to the family unit and feeling needed is a fundamental building block of self-worth.
Mastery of their environment in childhood instills a certain confidence in later life, leading them to tackle difficult circumstances instead of shying away when faced with adversity. Saying ‘no’ in this circumstance forges a stronger and more resilient adult.
When resentment piles up in any relationship, it can be truly detrimental. The bond between parent and child is no different. Many will not readily admit that they bear a grudge towards their young infant as it is taboo. Yet, it is surprisingly prevalent.
Parents make significant sacrifices for their kids, without taking time for themselves. When resentment mounts, parents bury this emotion and feel guilty instead. However, it is beneficial to listen and take notice of strong emotions.
If bitterness reaches fever pitch, revenge is taken, whether conscious or not. Therefore, aim to prevent your child from doing things that make you resent them. Set reasonable boundaries and compromise on alternatives that both are happy with.
Children often don’t realize that what they are doing is wrong, so stay calm and explain. Be assertive, if you cave in to every little demand, you might not like yourself for it. Self-respect is the basis of saying ‘no’ and sticking to your guns.
A want, not a need
Infants struggle to contain selfish impulses because their prefrontal cortex is still in development. This is something that advertisers know and love to take advantage of. Young kids are besieged on all sides with shiny new toys to bug Mum and Dad about.
Parents must differentiate between what is a need or just a passing yearning. Saying ‘no’ teaches valuable lessons in patience and delaying gratification. Therefore, it is best to acknowledge that it is a beautiful object and they can save up for it in the future if it is truly necessary.
For instance, parents are bombarded nowadays with their children’s desire to purchase a smartphone. However, there should be an age-limit to such risky and addictive technology. A certain level of maturity is needed to operate phones safely.
Never purchase something if it runs against your better judgement. Children will respect integrity in the long run. Parents are setting an example in how they behave so this is an exercise in teaching moral character. Your children are watching even when you don’t think they are.
The importance of boundaries
Parents are overworked, overburdened and overtired. It is no surprise then that they would rather not spend valuable family time arguing. Many would be inclined to favour short-term solutions that guarantee a little peace and quiet.
However, it is best for parents to instill strong habits early on, actively striving to make themselves obsolete. Thereby raising autonomous citizens of the world who can then give back, instead of learning to greedily take what they feel entitled to.
For this reason, say ‘no’ in a clear and firm tone, following through with consistency and fairness. Meet outbursts with calm explanation instead of escalating to anger. A child will capitalize on any weakness shown, so think twice before backing down.
Children will feel safe and comfortable when they understand the clear boundaries assigned to behavior. That being said, too many rules is a tyranny. Walk the line between structure and enjoyment to provide security without stifling childish imagination and joy.
For the sake of your growing youngster, be assertive and give them structure. Their future selves will thank you.