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Parent's Corner

For Parents

To Raise Responsible Children, Say No

By Icia Reid-Sandulak, BSW, MFT

Many Parents find it challenging to say no to their children, but please know that it is healthy to say no, and mean no. Children are naturally resourceful and will generally explore ways to be content. Parents must provide structure to avoid a negative connotation to their children. Saying yes to children all the time can fuel negative behaviors and it can also lead to entitlement. For some children the more you say yes, the more they want, and some parents can become overwhelmed.
As a parent, it may be a difficult task for you to say no to your children. You may have several valid reasons why you want to say yes. Being a “yes partner” can have devastating consequences on your relationship with your children. You are their parents and need to look out for their well-being, current and future. Weigh each situation and use delay tactics, this way you are saying yes, but not instantly.
Many families in our culture see abundance as a symbol of success, missing the meaning of resourceful healthy children. Whether some parents can afford it or not, they are driven to say yes at the expense of higher credit card debt. Children who grew up with less can be more resourceful and responsible in skill building. Knowing when to say yes is very important for children, for after all you are their mentor, protector, and hold their best interest at hand. In no way should you deny your children things that are necessary for their growth and development. Help your children be creative in finding ways to build their self-esteem and confidence. Some ways to accomplish this is as follows:

  • Say no to eating out sometimes; have your children help prepare the meals.
  • Say no to going to a friend’s house sometimes; engage in activity of child’s choice.
  • Say no to going to the mall sometimes; walk with your children and give them the floor to share what is on their mind.
  • Say no to television sometimes; have your children help you with chores and make it fun; dance as you work together.

Your children will embrace you when they feel secure and stable, when they know that you are there every step of the way, when they can feel your unconditional love, and when they see the look of care in your eyes. Remember giving your children everything in the world does not build a relationship with you and your children. Doting on your children with objects may not lead to responsible adults. Raising responsible children does not depend on how much you give or say yes, rather it is when a parent knows when to say no in a healthy trusting manner. Prudent parenting will be rewarding in the future.

Children and Sleep

By Icia Reid-Sandulak 

The need for sleep is very important for children's functionality. As parents, you know that when your children do not get a good night's sleep, the whole family pays for it. Feeling irritable is just one of the side effects when children do not get enough sleep. Sleep can affect their cognitive ability, and may alter how well they can pay attention and problem solve. Missing out on sleep may also affect their mood; they will have a more difficult time managing their emotions, which leads to aggravation and frustration among these youngsters. 

There are other factors that may impact children's life style when they are deprived. They may feel drowsy and lack energy throughout the day. Their school performance such as their ability to focus on the material that is being taught may also suffer as a consequence of their sleep deprivation. Sleep can affect their cognitive ability and may alter how well they can pay attention and problem solve. 

There are a few things to keep in mind that may help with sleep patterns in children. Some children may be anxious about an event or they may have something on their mind that they spend hours thinking about once they go to bed. Watch for overload of extracurricular activities. While extra activities can be healthy and productive, you as a parent still need to monitor your children's functional abilities. You can help your children to be successful in their activities by setting a routine at bedtime. Have them wind down before bedtime and set bedtime based on age. 


As parents you talk, you lecture, and you expect to be heard by your children. At the same time, you
need not forget that your children are also talking. You hear the sounds that they are making, but are
you attentively listening to the words that they are saying? It is imperative that you listen to them and
make special time for them. You can choose breakfast time, or dinner time to allow them to express
themselves. They will feel like they can come to you with anything, because you value their words.

Spend Time
Spend quality time with your children. Take them on a picnic, have a family game night, watch one of
their favorite shows with them, take them for a walk, have them help with dinner and eat meals
together. They will feel validated by you.

Be consistent with your children and follow through on discipline. This creates stability for the child, but
keep in mind that one type of discipline does not fit all children. The age of the child, the maturity level,
and possible disability, determines what type of discipline should apply. Pick your battles, do not nitpick
at your children. Be loving, be flexible, be firm. Use reward systems when necessary. Acknowledge
your children when they are following directions, and let your children know when they are doing a
good job.

Open Communication
Maintaining open communication is your children’s lifeline. As we know, communication is the key to
building a solid relationship. Open communication allows your children to discuss their feelings,
concerns, hopes and desires. You will definitely get to know your children better if you make room for
continuous communication with them.

Parents Are Role Models

By Icia Reid-Sandulak

 Your children model your behaviors in many ways. Whatever you do, your children are watching. You know the old saying "do as I say, not as I do". As parents you know that this is not a realistic goal for your children. Your children are more likely to do as you do , since you are the first and most important teacher in their life. You want your children to model your good behaviors, and only the good ones, right? Your children look up to you as their parent, their guide, their hero,  and their mentor. Your children are watching when you think they are not!

Take comfort in knowing you are teaching positive behaviors. Don't forget that you serve as role models not only through direct interaction with you children, but also through example shown with your attitude and behavior when you interact with others. There are no perfect parents; therefore, as parents you will have shortcomings in your parenting roles. It is up to you to take a personal time out when necessary, to avoid negative interaction. Your children will admire this behavior. It is okay to make mistakes as long as you do not keep making the same mistakes. Your children are like sponges, they will soak up all the good behaviors, and the bad behaviors too. 
Be sure to set good examples. It will be healthier for you and your children. Don't forget, you are the most important person in your children's lives.