“NO! Stop that! No means no!”
How often do you hear yourself say that? Or something similar along that nature? Never? You sure are one lucky parent. Well, for those ‘unlucky’ few, the good news is, you are about to find out some tips on how to be firm with your children.
Start ’em young
While your child is still young, even when he is not old enough to understand, be firm. If you do not want him to eat that junk food, stop giving it to him. Not even if he cries or shouts until the neighbours threaten to call the police. Well, a bit of an exaggeration, but you get the idea. If you give in even once, you’re done. He will know he can get away with it a second time. From the beginning, make sure he knows you mean business. Show him the ‘I’m serious’ look. Harden your heart to his sweet pouty face. Be strong and stick to your guns. Soon, he will learn that when Mummy says ‘No’, she really means ‘No’. Note: this method does not work if doting grandmothers are around.
State your reasons clearly
Many times I find that when I explain the ‘whys’ (even made up ones), my son is more receptive to my way of thinking. For example, he likes to eat a lot of sugary stuff all at once. When I simply refuse, he would just go to the next adult (his grandmother) and request for it. However, after I had explained and showed him videos about diabetes and the dangers of it, he has stopped doing so. It may also have something to do with my tales about bacteria attacking his teeth.
Stop with the bribes
Once you start, you may never stop. Bribes may work for that moment but you may have to pay a higher price in the long run we are told. There may be exceptions, of course. I personally feel that bribes on rare occasions benefit more than being a disadvantage. For example, bribing him for visiting the dentist or for achieving something great on his own. Bribes to get him to take baths or do house chores would be a no-no.
Be the boss
You are the adult. You know better. No matter how much he whines or tries to make deals, be the boss. Ignore his whines and deals. Make sure he does his ‘job’. My son likes to play with all his toys all at once. He would dump everything on the floor. Fine. He knows he has to pick them up later or they would end up in the rubbish bin. Follow through on your warning. You may be bluffing, but he doesn’t know that.
Above all, be involved in your children’s lives. Invest time, patience and effort in bringing up upright citizens who would then raise a better generation. It pays off in the end. Spend time doing activities that create strong bonds like gardening, creating family videos, visiting orphanages, planning fund-raisers, etc. These opportunities would soon open up their eyes and heart.
So, the next time your son starts his Golden Globe teary performance and earth-shattering screams, smile steadily and stand your ground. He will soon stop and realise that Mummy is no longer a pushover.