The secret key to joyful parenting: the art of saying 'no' while also saying 'yes.'
All parents want to be ‘good’ parents. But, what does it mean to be a ‘good’ parent? This can vary from child to child. What is 'good' for one child is not necessary 'good' for another, as every child has his or her own unique personality.
Being a 'good' parents is often understood to be a parent who 'meets the needs of the child.' Children have lots of needs, and can make tireless demands on parents. Difficulties between parents and children often start to emerge, when 'meeting the needs of the child,' slides into 'complying with the requests/demands of the child.' The underlying thought of the parent often being: 'If I comply with the child's demands, the child will see me as a 'good' parent, and will recognize me as such.' The parent often complies with the demand out of love for the child: Giving the child what he demands is a sign of the parents' love for the child. The assumption is that the child will be grateful for, and recognize that value of what is given.
After several years of ‘giving,' 'meeting the needs of the child' parents often become depleted and overcome with the feeling that no matter what they give the child it is never enough. The more they give, the hungrier the child becomes.
But the child is not hungry for the 'things' he or she asks for. As the parent has understood well, the child asks for an object, in the anticipation that this object will be a sign of the parents' love for the child. Often giving the child 'conversation' rather than the actual object can be more satisfying for the child, AND the parent. This means that a 'no' to a toy, in combination with a conversation about the wonderful toy the child is asking for can be much more satisfying than getting the actual toy. A child wants more than anything else in the world connection with his or her parents. And the way to this connection, the way to say 'yes' to the person of your child sometimes implies the ability to say no to a specific demand, to set a limit, to draw a line. It is the art of saying 'no' to a specific demand, while at the same time saying 'yes' to your child that will help parent and child thrive, that will help them feel connected.
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