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Amanda Brunker: 'The more I say no to my kids, the more respect I get'


Amanda Brunker with her sons L to R: Setanta (8) and Edward (9) McLaughlin

Amanda Brunker with her sons L to R: Setanta (8) and Edward (9) McLaughlin

Amanda Brunker with her sons L to R: Setanta (8) and Edward (9) McLaughlin

I like to say no to my kids at least 50 times a day - it gives me a great sense of superiority and I've always believed in dictator politics.

Okay, that's not true, but I strongly feel that as parents we need to say no to our kids more. And I mean a lot more.

So often mums and dads say yes to their children when they really want to say no - why? Because we're tired, we're weak and mostly we want our kids to like us. Am I right?

Truth is, giving your children everything they want is wrong. You can make all the excuses you want, but being that YES parent is a long-term negative.

Sure it's nice to treat our kids, but when everyday is an, 'okay sure,' day then you've got to ask yourself, who's really in charge?

I'm not claiming to be perfect, I'm not totally against the Xbox babysitting my kids when I need a break. None of us can be Mary Poppins all the time. But I've found the more I say no, the more respect I get. The more I say yes, well, a happy home can descend into chaos when my sons are given free reign to do as they please.

Of course exercising the all powerful NO, can cause drama. It brings moaning, quite often shouting and worst of all silence. We all think we like silence but when your child is giving you the cold shoulder it's a frustrating situation to be in.

Like everything, practice makes perfect. By using the word NO more often, it becomes easier to use. Think of it as forming a habit. Refuse your children the odd late evening request and then build it up. Sounds simple but if you're one of those parents who introduces their child as, 'The boss of the house,' then it might not be so routine.

It might sound far-fetched, but I could recognise personality traits in both my boys from just one week old. They really did start as they meant to go on. And as parents we need to do the same. Children will test and push your boundaries from the beginning. They should never have the upper hand, or be the boss. It might sound cute, but in essence you'll be creating a monster. And no, that's not just my theory.

Being able to say no to your child early is of the utmost importance. Then it's something that they will expect when their request is unreasonable. It's imperative because you can manage the fallout of a tantrum when they are little. But saying no to a larger child for the first time could have messy consequences. I'm not suggesting you start to be unreasonable. But you do need to find a backbone when the word NO needs to be used. You've got to be able to sustain the taunts. Being called mean and a bully should just wash over you.

With all life lessons, the younger your child learns them the better. While disappointment might not be something you want for your child, it's something they do need to experience and understand as the norm.

Remember, this parenting malarkey isn't always easy. And saying no isn't either.