Guest Author - Elaine Anderson
Do you want your teenager to accept it when you tell them No? Do you want them to know they are loved, even when they are being disciplined?
As a parent, we all want the best for our children, right? This involves keeping them safe from harm, while allowing them to grow into the person they are to become, and experience what life has to offer them on each step of their journey into adulthood.
Even though a challenge at times, parenting is one of the most joyous and rewarding experiences in life. We adapt and learn as we go, along with the children; we don't always get it right. But, letting your child know they are loved and respected is one great start to them in turn respecting boundaries and understanding why as a parent we must sometimes say No.
When children are young, the word No holds meaning, and its validity isn't usually questioned. However, as your child approaches adolescence the word No can become suddenly up for discussion. It can take you by surprise but this is no bad thing, as your teenager has every right to express their own thoughts and feelings. In fact, this is actually a most healthy thing for them to do, but it is how exactly it is discussed rather that turns the whole thing into a positive communication experience, or an argument.
Sometimes you will simply want your teenager to respect that No means No and that it isn't up for debate. This is perfectly fine, and teaches your child valuable life lessons about authority that translates to life as a whole from dealing with teachers, to dealing with superiors in the workplace later in life.
A few pointers that might help your teenager understand that when you say No, you mean No, are as follows:
1 - Keep calm and don't get angry at the situation. Your child wants to be heard, and sitting down to talk about it in a rational manner can ensure that you both get a chance to put across your point of view.
2 - Reassure your teenager that you love them and respect them, but explain that it is your job as a parent to decide at times what you feel is best for them and they in turn must respect this.
3 - While communication and discussion is good and healthy, be sure not to be drawn into changing your mind. If it is something you firmly say No to, then stick to this.
4 - Try not to go back on saying No, as this will give it less power the next time you want to tell them No.
5 - Show a united front with anyone you co-parent with. You should not be seen as some kind of bad guy, it is simply a matter of making a decision and sticking to it.
Your child will likely have a good idea of their own boundaries in what they are and aren't allowed to do, and if you are consistent with this then they are less likely to kick up any fuss when you tell them No.