The Parent Space

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  • Start date:    Tuesday 26th September 2017
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01/10/2012

Does no always mean no?

Does no always mean no?

When you’re feeling tired, stressed, rushed or you haven’t had time to think something through, it can be easy to automatically say no to a child’s request, only to realise quite quickly that it was actually a reasonable one. 

The idea of going back on a “no” can leave some parents fearing that their child is getting one over on them.  This can lead to them sticking to it at all costs, even setting up a huge battle over something very small, secretly wishing they had never said no in the first place, and leaving both parent and child feeling terrible.
 
Whilst none of us want to be seen as flaky or inconsistent, we think there is a way to back down whilst also saving face.  Saying “OK, help me understand why this is so important to you” or “actually, I didn’t properly think about what you were asking for” can model to your child that it is possible and helpful to sometimes change your mind or back down gracefully from an argument.  If you can show flexibility at times and are able to acknowledge a good reason for changing your mind, then your child is more likely to learn and demonstrate these skills too (see September’s blog).

Try to make sure though that when you do back down over something, that you do it sooner rather than later, so that your child isn’t left with the message that it was her continuous pestering or whining that actually won you over, rather than there being a good reason for your change of heart.

Setting boundaries