A few weeks ago I had a conversation with another parent. Our children are the same age and we were discussing how we will deal with the pressures of technology and social media that our children will face when they become teenagers. At the moment our children are only 6 years old so have little awareness of Facebook and the likes.
I said that I will always make sure that my child only has access to the internet using a Laptop which is kept downstairs. I do not want her to be lying in bed at night staying up messing around on her phone when she should be sleeping. I also said that I would always make sure that any gaming devices like Playstations and XBoxes are also kept in a communal room. I think I just really fear a child who is spending their time just before bed, staring at a screen and not realising that they can unwind in another manner.
The other parent said something which I found very surprising. She said that she was allowing her daughter to have whatever she wanted and if she wanted it in her room then that was fine because she didn’t ever want her to not have something someone else had. She said that if her child went to a friend’s house and that friend had a playstation in their bedroom and she then asked for one then she just couldn’t say no to that.
I wondered where you draw the line on this? I mean, is that really a sensible lesson to be teaching children? Yes it’s nice to give our children what they want and to ensure they always have the same as their friends so they don’t ‘miss out’… or is it?
It isn’t reality. What happens when that child comes home from a friend’s house and informs their parents that their friend has a holiday home in Florida? How will the parent be able to provide that? And how will the child, who has always been granted everything, cope when they realise they cannot actually always have everything they want?
You see, you may not think it at the time, that when you say ‘oh yes you can have those Frozen dolls because your friends have them’ and ‘yes of course we can get you a bigger television for your room because someone else in your class has.’ that what you are doing is creating a problem for in the future.
Sometimes, by saying no to a child it is a much more useful thing that you are doing. When I say no to my child about something I am not being mean or denying her of something, instead I am enabling her to be more well-rounded and be more appreciative of things. I am teaching her that you don’t have to have something just because someone else has it, that it is OK to be different and stand out and not copy everyone else.
I know there will be times (and there already have been) when conflicts arise, where me saying no causes a melt down but I try to look at the bigger picture and what this means for the future. My opinions will no doubt change when my daughter becomes a teenager but I hope that I will always ensure that I’m not afraid to say no to her. It is not a true reflection of the society we live in to be able to always have what we want so if you are afraid to say no then don’t be. Saying no is definitely a good thing which will help your child to be more accepting in the future.
Mums that can’t say no… well I just wonder how things will pan out later down the line!