Too many NOs in parenting? Have you ever caught yourself constantly saying “NO” to your children? With our busy schedules, many of us tend to say a quick NO.
But does it really solve a problem? Or does it cause more trouble both short and long term?
In this article, you’ll find 5 negative impacts with too many NOs, and how to fix them.
Too many NOs in parenting – 5 negative impacts & how to fix them
#1 – Relationship
First of all, let’s revisit our childhood memories. How often did you hear “NO” from people around you? Were you able to build a positive relationship with them? Or did you feel ignored or rejected?
Not only did you feel disappointed, it also affected the quality of your relationship. For healthy development of children, it’s important to have a positive environment where they feel they are being heard & accepted.
Before you say NO, ask yourself some questions: Why do I say NO? or How would I feel if I were her/him?
So be present with your children and show that you are interested in their ideas/thoughts.
A mom shared a story with me. One day her daughter (5) was given a piece of round paper. She was supposed to make her face with it. Instead she created a cat.
Unfortunately, her teacher told the girl, “No, This isn’t what I asked you to do.” As you can imagine, the little girl was quite upset.
Saying something like this can instantly close the door for children’s creativity. And if children hear enough rejections, they stop being curious which is a very important trait in our life.
Again, ask ourselves some questions: Does it matter if she/he creates something different from what was expected? Do I want to nurture her/his creativity?
Questioning ourselves will eliminate unnecessary NOs. That will encourage children to be creative (Who would think of turning a deer fence turning into a crab trap?)
#3. Excessive NOs in parenting affects children’s well-being
NO means an instant rejection for children. How many of us feel good when we have constant rejection? Unwanted power comes with NOs that even adults have a hard time hearing.
As an example, I’ve had a child who was almost paranoid about getting dirty. She looked sad when her peers were having fun in nature. So I asked her why. Apparently, her mom got upset whenever her clothes were dirty.
Wait a second…keeping her clean is more important than her happiness? In some culture like mine (Japanese) there is a common belief of keeping things clean.
But if children don’t feel good about themselves, how can they possibly feel confident? Lack of confidence may result in anxiety and unwanted behaviors.
Try to put yourself in your children’s shoes and ask is this a constructive NO? Ask children how you can help.
#4. Risk Taking
Sometimes you have to bite your nails and just watch your children taking healthy risks. What I mean by that is the risks that can support children’s learning. To clarify, I would say NO to high risks.
We tend to say NOs in parenting to protect our children. But what happens if we keep saying NO and prevent them from trying? In that case, they won’t be able to know what’s safe for them and not. By taking healthy risks, they gain important life skills like safety assessment and confidence.
First, think about if this can be a great learning opportunity. Next, help your children assess risk factors by asking questions like Is it safe? Is your body comfortable(for young children)? Do you feel comfortable? (for older children)
If they/you feel uncomfortable, simply help them find a safer place to try. Keep it in mind, your children eventually need to make their own decisions in their life.
#5. Power Struggle
How many of us hate the power struggle in parenting? It’s so draining and I don’t feel good about myself after word. The bad news is that we are the ones who need to adjust, because kids can’t hear you while in a state of distress.
Like the first picture, NOs in parenting can backfire on you. It’s not sustainable neither for parents or for children.
First, take a big breath together. (Imaginary candles and hot chocolate helps to blow big breaths.) There are a few ideas you can try.
- give them an A or B choice
- redirect/distract (I found nature does the best work for this.)
- relocate (as simple as getting fresh air can reduce the tension)
Don’t forget self-care for you! We need to look after ourselves, so we have patience and don’t crumble under stress.
Like some of you, I used to say NO to many things. It was purely from love and care for my children. But I was exhausted from saying NOs all the time.
What helped me the most was revisiting my childhood memories and identify the NOs I didn’t like. As soon as I started questioning myself & reflecting on my childhood, I was able to remove excessive NOs.
Don’t get me wrong, I still say NOs to my teenage children. But at this point, I just need to set a clear boundary with them rather than using too many NOs.
The most important thing to remember is that parenting is all about growing up with children. ❤️