Monday, February 26, 2007

When should we say ‘NO’ to our children?

We have often seen that children these days demand a lot more than they did earlier. Children, being innocent, shouldn't be blamed for what they are doing. But should parents draw a line somewhere? Giving in to demands posed by their kids can sometimes prove bad for the child. So what do you do if your kids habitually demand more and more?Giving in to a child's demands is the path of least resistance. Television and advertising are stimulating kids' acquisitiveness. They are constantly being sold on the idea that things will buy them happiness and this has made them stubborn by the day.Keep your child away from developing the demands—or cure them if they've already set in.TEACH KIDS NOT TO RELY ON OBJECTSAre you worried about how your child will live without the gizmos and gadgets?Well, they will not if you manage to engage them in meaningful activities such as work that helps the family. Traditionally, kids on farms would milk cows, collect eggs and perform other duties, even at a very young age. Nowadays, we ask nothing of our children.Parents can fend off the demands by creating a schedule of chores. Even four-year-olds can help clear breakfast dishes and water the plants. Older children can make beds and sort laundry.Don't feel it's up to you, however, to keep your child busy. If you restrict TV and computer time, they'll eventually discover something else to do.DON'T BUY GIFTS EVERY TIME YOU SHOPThis is the worst kind of practice you can adopt. It is brought about by guilt. Parents who work feel that because they're unavailable to their children for most of the day, they should somehow make it up to them. Buying gifts habitually may make you feel generous, but your children may begin to feel entitled to treats and therefore demand more.MONEY IS A CONSIDERATIONMake clear to your child right from the start that what you buy for him/her is a matter of heavy decision-making. Give him/her some idea of the financial thinking that goes into deciding whether or not you will buy them a bicycle.Remind them that owning a lot of things is not crucial to happiness. Emphasise that some things are useless and not worth buying. If you think your child's request is worthwhile, give him/her a chance to earn the money to buy the item. Say something like, “I can't buy those designer jeans today. But I will if you help me in the kitchen at night for a month.” This also encourages your child to develop initiative and drive to stand on his/her feet.KEEP YOUR EXPLANATION SIMPLEDo not give your children silly excuses, like “the wafers you want are made from hay and paper” or “the new Barbie doll is possessed”!Such explanations may sound civilised to adults, but to a child they are confusing and indefinite. It's better to deliver a firm “no” and then offer the simplest explanation you can think of: “They're not good for you.”Such a flat rejection gives a child no reason to think that crying, fussing or yelping will get him anywhere at all.ONCE YOU SAY NO, STICK TO ITThis is the golden rule. Your response to the demands teaches children something important: that is, how things are gained and not gained. Letting a child have his/her own way after crying tells them that they can get ahead by making other people's life miserable. It also instills in them that being stubborn helps.If you find yourself usually giving in, then examine your own motives. The primary reason is probably to avoid a scene. But keeping the peace comes at a high price—it teaches your child that fussing works. You're much better off letting a scene happen. Even if your child cries piteously and people think you're heartless, stand by your decision. If necessary, leave the store right away. Sometimes you have to inconvenience yourself to prove a point.Your job as a parent is to help your children decide what's worth getting and then show them the right way to go about it.
SPARE THE ROD, SPOIL THE CHILD Psychologist Seema Hingorrany gives you tips on when and how you can say no to your children:• Saying ‘no’ increasing your child's endurance level• Be honest with your kids• Teach them the concept of money and savings• Inculcate moral values and discipline by explaining to them• Teach them to value things• Do not give in to their unreasonable demands• If you want to gift something, give it as a reward or token of praise.


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