Learn To Say ‘No’ To Your Toddler Or You’ll Pay With Your Sanity
Anyone who has gotten through the toddler years (or is currently toiling away) knows that a toddler can make many demands. It’s in their nature to be selfish and unreasonable, this we know. What some parents may not know is that saying “no” to their little one is one of the best ways to raise a secure and productive child. As the mother of slightly older children, I can firmly attest to this method. However, I have actual research to back up my claim.
This morning, I read a post by a Reddit dad at the end of his rope with his toddler daughter. It sounds like he really doesn’t know how to get some control back and his kid is running the show, to both their detriments:
Yikes. The first thing he needs to realize is that his toddler will still be happy, even if he says “no” sometimes. In fact, she may be even happier than if he always says yes. This group of experts concludes that saying no to little kids can have a whole host of benefits:
1. Prepares them for disappointment
2. Puts clear boundaries in place.
3. Sets limits
4. Provides consistency
5. Makes kids feel safer
6. Creates teachable moments
7. Builds respect
Of course, my children might not always act like they’re happy when I say “no” to them but the proof is in their behavior. I’m not a perfect parent, but I am raising kids who know the answer will not always be “yes” and I can see in their eyes that setting limits gives them a sense of safety and comfort. Children do feel better when they know someone else is in charge, taking care of them. It is easy to let things get out of control by always giving your toddler what they want. By their very nature, toddlers can wear you down and I know I’ve given in before when my kids were younger because I just couldn’t fight them any longer. In the moment, giving in seems like the answer because it makes the demands stop. But for the longer term, setting boundaries and telling them “no” is the right way to handle things.
As for this Reddit dad — his daughter is still very little. It is not at all too late for him to turn the tide and get control back. He may have a difficult few weeks when she starts hearing “no” when she’s used to getting everything she asks for, but this is in both of their best interests. He wants to make her happy but he sounds so strung out and miserable. Parents need to put their own needs first and need time to themselves. If his little girl is all over him and constantly asking for things, he can’t get the time he needs to recharge and be a good parent. Once he puts his foot down and changes the dynamic with his daughter, his life as a parent will improve.