There is a lot of debate right now about the proper way to parent children, but one thing that I’ve heard quite frequently is the “No” debate. In the past, it was very common for children to never be allowed to say no to their parents or other adults, it was considered disrespectful and punishment-worthy. This attitude is changing, and with it many attitudes about parenting are also changing. The discussion is bringing many parents to the realization that allowing kids to say no and speak their mind can be hugely empowering and beneficial in a number of ways, now and when the children grow up to be adults.
Find Out the Reason for the No
Instead of resorting straight to punishment, it is often much more effective to find out why the child said no. Getting down to their level and asking why they would not like to pick up their toys or wear their raincoat to school may help you to find grounds to convince them that the directive is in their best interest. Or it may help you to find out something that you were unaware of, such as that the toy box lid is hard to open.
Allow Children to Be Unique
There are other areas where children might say no out of a genuine difference in opinion from you. If children do not like asparagus, but love spinach, allow them to be unique and have their preferences, rather than forcing them to eat the asparagus. Allowing children to operate as individuals can make them feel empowered and let them know that their voice counts. This can be helpful in situations where someone is trying to touch them inappropriately or bully a friend. When children are made to believe that saying no to an adult is the worst choice of action, the results can be pretty bad.