Guest Author - Elaine Dayton
Parenting is one of the most precious roles that any human undertakes. It can also be the most loving, rewarding, joyful relationship that we will experience. Parenting can also be fraught and worrying especially when challenging behaviour from an adolescence tests patience and resolve.
Each stage of childhood requires parents to adapt and learn new skills. Keeping kids safe and protected is of course the prime objective along with showing love, value and respect.
When parents have to say NO to an adolescence it can be one of the more difficult aspects of parenting. Learning to accept they have been told NO and accepting that decision is also one of the most important lessons a child will ever learn.
Of course the best way to bring teenagers on side is through discussion, negotiation and understanding. However with the best will in the world there will be times that NO is the only answer. Parents are role models, saying NO even when the decision hurts everyone involved can be a learning lesson for everyone.
Many parents are living in the fast lane; taking time to parent alongside all the other responsibilities people hold is difficult. Parents arrive home from work tired. The day has already been long enough. Time and energy is so precious that entering into arguments with teens is the last thing anyone wants to encounter. When children are young, the word ‘NO’ holds meaning. By the time, the house is full of adolescence the word NO can lead to arguments, tears and tantrums. A teenager storming around the house, shouting or tearful can be a difficult situation to experience.
For some parents the whole process of acting as the disciplinarian can be difficult. Rather than take the challenge of acting as the responsible role model some parents want to be the friendly parent, coaching children into adulthood rather than guiding with boundaries.
There are many good reasons to show teenagers how to handle the experience of being told NO. In the outside world a host of people will expect teenagers to know how to handle a refused request, teachers and future employers amongst them. In reinforcing boundaries, adolescence learning to respect the answer NO, parents are teaching their kids that life can sometimes be difficult. We have to develop the emotional skills to deal with refusal; this includes putting a stop to destructive habits that may present themselves to teenagers. Self-discipline is a healthy characteristic to develop!
Parents want their kids to be happy, indeed the whole family dynamics can wrap around the emotional welfare of children. Happy kids equal happy parents, sad kids equal unhappy parents. Everyone wants to be in a win/win situation, this means that all family members need to understand boundaries.
Here are a few tips on how to say NO and mean it!
Choose your battles. As adolescence grows older, boundaries change. Nevertheless, if NO is the right message stay consistent with the message of No.
Do not be put on the spot; tell the teens you are going to think about any decisions that need to be made. Then calmly inform them of your decision. If the answer is NO so be it!
Explain why you have made the decision, do not get into an argument, do not justify.
*Do not allow the adolescence to come between parent/caregivers. A united message is a strong message.
*Be consistent with any sanctions.
*Self sooth, you are not being mean, you are acting as the responsible adult.
Making the decision to say no to adolescence can be a difficult; parents/carers usually want to enable positive parenting. Remember saying No, then sticking with the message NO enables kids to accept refusal.
Parents are setting good boundaries, reinforcing life skills and ultimately showing long term love.