Girl Talk

Teaching Your Girl Child How To Say No

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Goodnews Lekpea

 Growing up, I struggled with turning down people’s requests. I was a people pleaser.

I was the only one tasked to check up on the others among my peers. Whatever responsibility shared amongst us, I bore the heaviest; that was because I didn’t know how to tell them I could not. It was completely draining. But I didn’t know how to turn them down.

When we hung out, I also remember I had allergies to a particular kind of soda, and that was the exact type my friends got. Because I didn’t want to feel left out, I took the drink regardless of the consequence. I learned the hard way that it is important to sometimes say no to certain demands, and you don’t have to feel guilty about it.

Therefore, it is crucial to encourage your daughter to be true to herself and her needs and stand up for herself as a parent.

Your child’s ability to say no doesn’t mean they can say no to anything and everything. Saying they don’t want a particular person to hug them is different from saying no when asked to unpack the dishwasher.

With this in mind, parenting and etiquette experts suggest how to bring up polite but self-assured kids and how to prevent pleasing that has become extreme.

  1. Help them to understand that politeness doesn’t mean pushover

Elaine Swann, an etiquette expert, states that people misunderstand being well-mannered for not having an opinion, which is completely wrong.

Instead, the actual emphasis should be on how we communicate: articulating, tone, and body language. “You can say anything to anybody — it’s all about your tone,” Swann says. It becomes complicated to learn today as kids communicate in the digital world, where facial expression and tone are lacking.

Teach her how to say, “I’d have loved to come, but I still have to meet up with my cousin”, in a friendly tone. This statement esteems both parties’ needs. Healthy politeness is in graciousness, and it should feel good. Conversely, pleasing often comes from a place of panic or anxiety, and this often feels draining.

“It is your job to teach your child to express her desires in a tone that befits the situation,” Elaine says.

  1. Help your kids develop self-awareness via effective communication

Genuine graciousness emanates from self-awareness, and parents can help cultivate this skill. First, turn off your device and spend time in nature, so you know just how you’re feeling beyond emoji. Your child will gain similar knowledge as well.

Again, do not forget that mealtimes together are significant. “Not only are you exhibiting courteous table manners, but it is also an excellent time to ask questions,” says Stephen Hinshaw, co-chair of the Scientific Research Council at the Child Mind Institute.

He recommends asking, “What is the difference between fake polite versus authentic polite?” Hinshaw says that parent-to-child communication is the real remedy for unhealthy pleasing. When you often dialogue with your kids, you show them that you are honestly interested in their perspective, and you also have the opportunity to correct their wrong notions.

  1. Teach them Consent

Consent is a two-way road. They are not only permitted to say no when it comes to their body, feelings, or private space, but they also need to understand and allow others to do the same.

“It begins with you as a parent first. You must understand that your child will not have to agree with you all the time. It is important to set personal boundaries, enforce matters of safety, etc. Still, we should also endeavour to have empathy and give our children control over the significant things in their life,” says Elaine.

Teach them to respect people’s consent and not impose their will on others. In the same way, others should also respect their choices.

  1. Be an example

“As a parent, you’re your daughter’s first teacher and her perfect example. So, nagging about having said “no” to something or someone in her presence doesn’t help. Therefore, if you’re going to disagree with someone or something, do it and do it firmly,” says Simone Marean, co-founder and executive director of Girls Leadership- an organization that educates girls on tools for self-advocacy and self-expression.” That act could give her the courage to say no and not feel guilty about it.

“You can explain why you wish you could do everything which can make you feel bad when you don’t, but it is also essential to remember that saying no to uncourteous demands isn’t the bad part and it shouldn’t make you feel you are a bad person.”

Parenting is tough, but as long as you are doing your best, you are doing great. You don’t want to raise an arrogant child who doesn’t regard authority and says no to everyone and everything. Teaching them to say no isn’t about giving them free rein. It’s about teaching them to respect and protect themselves while protecting others. These tips can be helpful.

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