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Lately a video by John Rosemond who I respect is gone viral talking about vitamin "N", i.e. the word "No". He thinks that more and more children are suffering from vitamin "N" deficiency, and I couldn't agree more! The reason is that most parents want more than anything for their kids to be happy, so they gave their kids, pretty much everything they ask for. However, the parents will probably end up frazzled, stressed and miserable, and their kids will be grumpy, moody, sullen, and very likely brats.

It is not our job as parents to raise a happy child! Instead our job is to raise mature, responsible, well-rounded adults. This eventually will result into more balanced and happy future adults who know how to live in a real world, and cope in a demanding life.

Children who get everything that they ask for tend to:

1-      Have problems getting along with other children.

2-      Very demanding.

3-      Rarely express any appreciation or gratitude.

4-      Become greedy, and hard satisfy.

5-      Be materialistic.

6-      Try to have what they want by whining, demanding, and manipulating, instead of working, sacrificing, or doing their best.

7-      Decreased mental health.

8-      Have depression.

9-      Have unrealistic expectation of life.

10-   Self-centered.

11-   Lose sense of the value of things they own.

On the other hand, saying a lot of "No", especially to toddlers will result in resistance, so always try using alternatives to " No" if possible. Here are some tips:

1-      Empathize

Child: Why do I have to clean my room? I hate cleaning my room!

Parent: I understand what you’re saying. I don’t like cleaning bathrooms, but I love how it looks when it’s done. How about I help you get started?

2-      Give a reason

Providing reasons often helps children understand why the rules are in place.

3-       “Yes, but”

Child: One more hour of iPad. Please!

Parent: Yes, you can have one more hour tomorrow after your homework is done.

4-      Set the time for the “Yes”

When a child has a request there always seems to be an implied “NOW”. Surprise your kids by taking away that implication.

Parent: Yes, you can have a piece of candy, after lunch.

5-      Ask for time and give a deadline

Child: Can I get a new video game?

Parent: I need some time to think about it. Can we talk more about it tomorrow night?

It is helpful to buy yourself a little time to think through a situation. Just make sure to give yourself a deadline to revisit the topic so you can truly think it through without being bombarded repeatedly by the request.

6-      Put the responsibility back on them

Child: Can I get a skateboard?

Parent: I know you’d love to have one. And I would love to help you plan to earn the money for it.

Empowering your kids to be critical thinkers and take the responsibility will serve them well in the long run.

7-      Sometimes it's OK to say yes

We get so caught up in the “No” that sometimes it simply slips out when we could have said yes. While improve actors don’t seem to pause, sometimes taking a minute before answering will help you naturally say “Yes, and” more often.

And as John Rosemond said "Turn your children’s world right-side up by giving them all of what they truly need, but no more than 25 percent of what they simply want."

By Noora Khalifa Albinkhalil

Founder and Principal of Al Shorooq Preschool

How to not raise a brat

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