Galactic Hot Dogs
 
|

The "Just Say No" Fallacy

If your tween is like most, he swears he won't smoke, drink, take drugs, or have sex until he's married. He has learned that these things are very bad and can easily recite what happens to people who indulge in these evils: They end up addicted, with a baby, or dead. Before you relax too much, though, keep in mind that in a few years he will outgrow his black-and-white mentality. Before he's sixteen, he'll have proof positive that people can smoke without dying of cancer, drink without killing anybody in a car wreck, take drugs without getting addicted, and sleep around without getting HIV or producing a pregnancy. Then he'll consider the "just-say-no" promises and the "Don't worry, Mom, I would never, ever…" commitments he made back in middle school to be null and void. After all, he only made them because he was so seriously misled by the string of half-truths adults feed little kids.

The "just say no" principle may work for younger, compliant tweens whose loyalty to parents reigns supreme, but it fails when the call of peers and tweens' own desires for excitement and love begin to take precedence. Before tweens can say "no" to anyone else, they must be able to say "no" to themselves even when the temptation to say "yes" is great. In other words, they must be able to control their impulses and assert themselves.

Impulse Control

To teach your child to control his impulses, you must say "no" to him when he cannot say "no" to himself, help him cope with feeling deprived, and praise him heartily for succeeding. Any time you deny your child something or ask him to wait, empathize with his disappointment. Let him know that you understand that it is difficult to wait until dinnertime to eat, to finish homework before watching TV, or to postpone playing until he's straightened his room. Be sympathetic that he must wait until he is fully independent to ride a dirt bike or do something else of which you strongly disapprove. That is, after all, a very long time to wait.

When your tween is upset because he can't tolerate the stress of having to wait for something he wants now, help him find ways to calm himself. Suggest he take deep breaths, try to think about something else, or find another way to occupy himself. Let him know that you are proud of him for managing to contain himself and settle down even though he is probably still feeling upset. Allow him to have his own feelings, even if they are angry or resentful but insist that he express them appropriately.



|

From The Everything Tween Book Copyright © 2003, F+W Publications, Inc. Used by permission of Adams Media, an F+W Publications Company. All rights reserved.

To order this book go to Amazon.


highlights

Teens and E-Cigarettes: 6 Things You Must Know
For the first time in a generation, tobacco use has risen among the nation's youth, due to the rising use of e-cigarettes. Learn more about the dangerous and addictive e-cigarette trend, and get tips to talk to your teen.

Find Today's Newest & Best Children's Books!
Looking for newly released books for your child? Try our new Book Finder tool to search for new books by age, type, and theme, brought to you by Galactic Hot Dogs.

Printable Lists of the Top 100 Baby Names
Need help with baby name ideas? Use our printable list of the top 100 girl names and top 100 boy names of 2015 to help you brainstorm and narrow down your favorites.

Registered for Kindergarten — Now What?
Wondering what to do now that you've signed your child up for kindergarten? Try our award-winning Kindergarten Readiness app! This easy-to-use checklist comes with games and activities to help your child build essential skills for kindergarten. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Facebook icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks