Some children have learned how to push their parent’s buttons to get exactly what they want. Once you give in, they’ve got you. While it’s incredibly hard at times to do the right thing and say no, you must be able to. I once heard a child in the hallway ask his mother why they couldn’t go to Burger King for lunch. She replied, “Because I said so.” That wasn’t a good enough answer.
Even at four years old, she could have explained to him her true reasons for not going out to lunch. Maybe, she didn’t want to spend the money. In that case, she could tell him that the family is excited to be saving money for something else, maybe an upcoming vacation, a trip to the store, or a special lunch over the weekend. That would teach him that they need to make choices in life, and they have enough money for some things but not for everything.
Or, if she had just stocked up at the grocery store, she could have explained that she bought him his favorite chicken nuggets or deli turkey or whatever she planned to serve him at home. She could make it sound even more special that she planned to work a puzzle with him or play his favorite game after lunch, something that they couldn’t do at Burger King.
Certainly, some children have an answer for everything and sometimes a parent can explain until she’s blue in the face. Then, “Because I said so,” seems easier. Yet, don’t short change your child’s ability to understand your motivation for saying no. There’s always a lesson in that. At the same time, he’s developing his debating skills!