Saying No To Kids
Don't be afraid to say "No" to your child. Children need limits. If you don't make the rules, your child will. And left to their own devices, most children will spoil themselves. So start rules to protect your sanity by 4 months of age. And have rules for safety by 8 months of age. Gradually add rules to teach socially acceptable behavior, starting at age 1 or 2. Some parents worry that if they discipline their child too much, he won't grow up to be natural or creative.
That's really unlikely, but to prevent the extreme of over-disciplining a child, here are some tips:
- First: Don't say "No" too much. If in doubt about a request, say "Yes," or at least "Maybe, let me think about it."
- Second: If the misbehavior is harmless (like a tantrum), ignore it.
- Third: If you're caught in a power struggle about something you can't control (like thumbsucking), switch from punishment to rewards.
- Fourth: Make sure your positive contacts each day with your child outnumber your corrections and criticisms by 5 to 1.
In summary, these guidelines will help you find the balance between too much discipline and too little discipline. If you have other questions about your child's behavior, consult your healthcare provider.
Disclaimer: This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. It is provided for educational purposes only. You assume full responsibility for how you choose to use this information.
Author and Senior Reviewer: Barton D. Schmitt, M.D. FAAP
Last Review: 9/1/2005
Last Revised: 6/1/2000
Copyright 1994-2008 Barton Schmitt, M.D. Parent Advice Messages.