I usually work from home. Not only because I find this the most comfortable way of working (tea for almost free and all the food I like within my reach), but also because it is cheap (I don’t have to rent an office unit) and finally, it is practical! Whether my daughter wants to stay at home after school or play with her friends, it is completely up to her.
This also means that I sometimes work while she is at home. She on the other hand hates it when I sit behind my laptop computer, because she wants to play, to chat, to interact, and she wants attention. And I can totally understand that feeling,
When I’m working, I’m often concentrating very hard and when she asks me for something, I hear some vague sound in the background and while I continue typing, I respond with something like ‘Hmmm’….or ‘No……’ and get back to work. When I’m in the middle of something, I simply like to finish it.
This results in a second effort by my daughter. ‘Mum, may I…….’
‘No, you may not.’
Or I might say: ’Hmmm…..’ (my effort to make her question go away….).
And to be honest, this is the start of all the problems. Had she known the reason why I said no, she would never have continued her fierce efforts to get her needs met.
Here’s the thing. Although many children will oppose the answer implying a ‘no’, try to always give your child clarity (yes or no) and in addition, the reason behind it, while giving the consequence for you.
So, saying ‘No’ and the reason behind it could result in an answer like:
“No, because I don’t have the time to pick you up from your friend’s” or:
“No, because I don’t have the money to buy you a horse”
I know that saying ‘no’ doesn’t always make your child happy. On the contrary, many times your child will resist your message and make another effort to get his or her needs met. And yet, saying no with an additional reason provides more clarity to your child than not answering at all, ignoring, distracting or ‘being vague’.
I think I’m going to read this post twice myself 🙂