Step Dont Be Afraid to Say No

The only way your child will realize that the world does not revolve around him and that all his desires will not be met is by setting limits that reduce his expectations. Decide now what your limits are and what is unacceptable; then no matter how demanding, annoying, and obnoxious his behavior is, do not give in when he crosses your line. It's the surest way for him to learn that demanding more than he deserves won't work. So don't let him win. Make sure you also spread your message to all other immediate caregivers in your kid's life. The more you are on board together with your new response, the faster this attitude will be squelched.

Your kid must learn that he can't always have his way. It's a tough but basic lesson of life. So do thank him for cooper ating, empathize with his disappointment, and stay firm. It is sometimes helpful to teach your kids the difference between "need" (a necessity) and "want" (not essential):

Needs: signing the form for tomorrow's field trip; getting to soccer practice on time Wants: extra money to purchase a CD; a cookie before dinner; telling Mom to get off the phone now to call a friend

Once they know the difference, you answer only demands that are asked in a respectful, polite tone (see Step 4) and only ones that are true needs. Here are some examples of parental responses:

"I appreciate how nicely you asked and know you're disappointed that you can't go to the movies. But we had plans to go to Grandma's.You can go tomorrow." "I heard how nicely you asked and know you're tired, but we agreed that I would buy groceries, not toys."

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