From a Kirk Martin newsletter:
“I have an important homework assignment for you tonight. Disappoint your child. On purpose. Say no just to say no.
Here’s why. Many parents give in to their child’s relentless whining, complaining and manipulation because it is expedient-it is "easier" in the moment. But that lack of personal integrity in the moment has long-term consequences. Parents who do this will then ask me to help make their kids stop whining. Not a chance if you have trained them that they can get whatever they want if they just badger you enough.
It takes emotional strength to say no to your child and see their disappointment. Many parents think they are just being mean.
Let me be blunt. If you cannot stand to disappoint your child, then your child controls you, your home and your life. And kids are simply not equipped to be in charge. That’s your job.
Here are 7 reasons to disappoint your child on purpose:
1. Your child needs you to be strong. You are supposed to be the one constant in your child’s life. They need to be able to rely on you, to trust your word, to know that when you say no, you mean it.
They need to know that their manipulations, crying and frowns cannot move you. If they can’t count on you, who can they count on? Remember, discipline is something you do FOR your child, not to them.
2. Build brakes into your child. Our kids are naturally impulsive, so we need to help them delay gratification. When we give them everything they want when they ask, it teaches them that life will treat them that way. Life doesn’t! You don’t always get what you want, especially when you want it. If you are training your child this way, they will be in for a rude awakening when they get older. And trust me, you can’t afford what they are going to want as they get older.
3. Save your strength. One reason we urge you to put an end to this whining and manipulation is that it will simply wear you down. Then you are left feeling emotionally bankrupt and unable to deal with the big issues. Take care of the smaller issues first.
4. Delaying gratification will show your children that their world will not end if they don’t have that candy bar or video game now. They need to know this deep inside. Waiting is good, waiting is right.
5. Stop impulsivity. Make a family rule that you never, ever buy anything that costs over $50 without waiting three days to think about it. It’s a great life lesson to live by.
6. Saying no and inciting a tantrum is a great opportunity. Yes, that’s what I said. When you say no and disappoint Junior, you’re going to get a beautiful tantrum. So embrace it. It is an opportunity to prove to yourself and your child that no matter what they try to do, they are not going to move you because you are the rock of stability they need.
7. The final reason may be the most important. If you listen to the fourth Parenting CD on getting your kids to be responsible for themselves, you will learn a powerful truth: that we as parents are NOT responsible for our kids’ happiness. It’s true. YOU are NOT responsible for making your kids happy. It’s impossible and it robs your kids of the contentment brought by learning how to be happy and satisfied in life.
I don’t have time to address this fully in the newsletter, but it is critically important for you to learn this. So begin today and learn to smile when you say, "No." Know deep inside you are helping your child, and yourself, to grow up into a stronger person.”
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