Helping Our Kids By Saying “No”

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What is the American dream? For some, the American dream is the idea of opportunity or freedom, while for others it is the idea of economic success. As adults we decide how we perceive the world and how to gauge our own success; however, little do we know that our nuanced behaviors affect the long-term development of our children. For instance, simply saying “no” to our kids can have a profound impact in our child’s development.

According to the New York Times’s recent article “To Raise Better Kids, Say No,” providing a small amount scarcity may have long-term benefits on a child’s development. By providing one’s children with the newest requested toy or item, we unknowingly divert our children’s attention and limit our child’s creativity. Instead of urging a child to use their imagination to adapt the uses of the toys they already own we inadvertently guide them to believe that objects have only one purpose while this is simply not the case. For instance, keys are primarily used to open doors, but they can also be used to open bottles or tighten screws. You may be wondering how this affects a child’s long-term development. According to The New York Times, this resourcefulness can be an invaluable skill later in life. It is worth highlighting that one should not completely deprive one’s children of much-needed resources; however, by occasionally saying “no” a parent can provide a small amount of scarcity which can greatly benefit a child. Similarly, a small amount of adversity can breed resilience which can better prepare a child for later struggles in life. As well as, lessen a child’s materialism, which has been connected to increased insecurity, lowered well-being, and relationship difficulties later in life.

Undoubtedly, it is difficult to say “no” when our children ask for something. However, maybe the next time our children asks us for the newest trendy toy or gadget, a simple “no” may have a greater impact than the toy itself. Perhaps, when our children are older they may even thank us for saying “no.” Only time will tell.

New York Times

Wall Street Journal
Huffington Post
Psychology Today

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