Why do we find it so hard to say no?

Well one of the reasons is shortage of time we all seem to be in such a hurry these days. It's so much easier to give in and buy whatever it is your teenager wants rather than spending time explaining why you won't buy what they want or spend time dealing with their sulks, moods, or tantrums when they don't get it.

But is the message of getting everything they want , when they want it so easily the message you want them to grow up expecting? Who’s got the power in the relationship then? What message are you teaching them about life?

Another reason is all the resources available to us nowadays. When your teenager asks for a treat you may think "Well it’s only £5 so it won't break the bank” and I know we do seem to have more disposable cash splashing about today but many parents don’t think twice about spending it all on their children but is that a good message to be sending out to your teen?

What message are you giving if you continually 'give in'?
"You can have anything you want"

You are creating a teenager who will have totally unrealistic expectations of you and the world - they will expect to get everything they want. You can be sure that their requests will get bigger and more expensive as they become aware of all the goodies out there. It’s sweets and treats today, Nike trainers and Gucci purses next!!

While you may enjoy indulging your teenager's wishes, as you may have struggled as a teenager yourself to afford things, the world just isn't like that and your teen may be in for a rude awakening when they encounter the many situations in the real world where they actually can't have what they want. You may be preparing them for big disappointments.

"It really doesn't matter how you treat your things - you can always get more"

Children who constantly get new gadgets, DVDs, and treats too easily learn not to value their things, because they know that they will always be replaced. They lose their sense of awe and wonder for new things if they are continually showered with gifts. It all comes too easily. So their expectations become inflated and they have no sense of gratitude or value for any of the gifts or treats they receive.

"I can't give you much time but I can give you lots of 'things”
If this is the message your teenager is receiving don't be surprised if they don't place any value on these things or show any gratitude at getting all this stuff.

'Things' just cannot replace your time. If young people don’t get the attention and input from you, among other things, they do not develop a sense of their own worth. They may feel they are not worth spending time with. As you’re showering your teenager with gifts their self esteem might be shrinking under the weight of their stack of treats. Now there’s a thought!!!

"If you get upset don’t worry we’ll get you a little treat"

The young person who always receives a treat when they shout or demand the longest is learning a dangerous lesson. Do you think other young people or the outside world will be as giving and generous as you? Ask yourself how your teenager will cope as an adult in a world where they most definitely won't always get their way?

Should I start just saying 'No'?

The answer is to start to get the balance right by saying “yes” and “no” and deciding what are your real views and values.
Start saying “yes” to requests for your time and find that time. Parenting isn't about just enduring your child’s childhood. Teenagers are growing up so quickly and they’ll be gone and not able to fit you in before you know it!

Enjoy spending time with your teenager doing things they like to do. Ask them how they would like to spend their time with you. Discover what they can and like to do, allow them time to show off their new skills and knowledge, give them praise and encouragement and chill out together. You don’t have to do Alton Towers or Disney World every time!!!

How do I start?

Firstly make time and make space for your maturing teenager in your busy schedule. After all, they are the most important thing in your life aren’t they? Giving the gift of time and attention to your young person is priceless and is worth much more than any gadget or treat to them. Remember you are building their memories of you and their childhood.

Write in this wheel something you could do together each week for the next 7 weeks and ask your teenager to join in. Then write it down in your diary - you put the dentist and the MOT for the car in your diary - how about popping in your important teenager?

Cut down gradually on giving the treats. Think about what you really think is appropriate. Every family is different and has their own set of family rules. You decide what is best for your family and agree to stick to it and explain these new rules to your kids.

Initially it may be difficult as your teen may have trouble believing that you really mean” no,” because in the past this wasn't the case. They will probably throw a wobbly but remember the bigger picture to your parenting - the values you want to teach them and hold on - think about the consequences of giving in. Stay grounded, centred and calm and explain, smile or move on to something else but stand firm.

Remember your teenager is maturing into a young adult and you are teaching them a valuable and important lesson for life.

Author's Bio: 

Sue Atkins is a Parent Coach and Author of "Raising Happy Children for Dummies" one in the famous black and yellow series and mother of two teenage children. She has written many books on self esteem, toddlers and teenagers and has a collection of Parenting Made Easy Toolkits available from her website. To find out more about her work and to receive her free monthly newsletter bursting with practical tips and helpful advice for bringing up happy, confident, well-balanced children from toddler to teen go to => www.positive-parents.com

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