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Learning to Say No Can Make You a Happier Parent

Do you feel angry with your children lately? Irritated by their behaviour? Feeling put upon and unappreciated? Finding it hard to enjoy spending time with them? Whether your children are babies, toddlers or teenagers, feeling angry or annoyed is a sign that you may need to look at your boundaries. Perhaps you are giving too much of yourself and it’s time to pull back. Maybe you are always giving into their demands and find it hard to say no to them. Creating healthy boundaries for yourself and your children is a great way to ensure your children feel happy and safe. Both you and your partner need to feel empowered to say no to your children and to set limits for their behaviour.

Children who have grown up with clear and firm boundaries, as well as a warm relationship with their caregivers, tend to do better as adults. They are able to create a strong sense of self-efficacy, confidence and mastery. They understand where the limits are and that the adults in their lives will step in when they cross the line, creating a sense of safety. This predictability in their environment means that they can explore and learn as children, while you take responsibility for setting the rules and boundaries as the adult. This setting of boundaries and creating a sense of safety is important for the child’s healthy development and growth. As a parent, when you model healthy boundaries and say no to your child, it supports them to develop respect for other people’s boundaries as well as their own. When you have no boundaries with your children it can create confusion and anxiety for them, and it can make you feel resentful and angry.

At the end of the day your children would rather have a happy parent, than a parent who is grumpy all the time. I see many parents who are experiencing conflict about limit setting with their children, or where both parents are giving so much energy to their children there is nothing left for their partner or themselves. This can set up an unhealthy dynamic for the future of your relationship. Your children are important but they are not more important than your own wellbeing or that of your relationship. You will need to set limits on your children to create space and time for yourself. Sacrificing your own wellbeing does not benefit your children in the long run, in fact it can mean that they don’t develop a sense of independence and resilience critical for a healthy, confident life as adults.

It can be challenging to create these healthy boundaries and you may feel guilty at times. You may have had negative childhood experiences with your own parents which you are concerned about repeating. It’s normal to have these concerns and it is still possible to learn how to create your own parenting style which matches your values, and still creates those healthy boundaries. I work with individuals and couples every day on these important parenting skills, so contact me now to become a happier parent and partner. Let’s talk before it breaks.