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  • Writer's pictureDr. Jacqueline Cahalan

Managing Tricky Child Requests

Parents: You don’t need to respond to every request or demand or question the instant your child brings it to you. You are allowed to take your time and respond in a way that you feel comfortable with and that is consistent with the values that you want to instill in your kids.  You are allowed to say “I need to think about that” or “I need more information” or “I’m not really sure- let me get back to you.” We often feel pressure to respond to things right away and sometimes that can lead to us feeling rushed or unprepared, even for a situation that is ultimately not very urgent. 

When you do this, you are setting a boundary, teaching your children that they can’t always immediately have the things they want, and giving them a low-stakes opportunity to learn to tolerate the distress that can come with waiting for things. These are all very important skills for them to develop. You can use the space you’ve created to consider the issue more fully, consult with someone you trust, or do some research to gather more info. This can allow you to be more intentional and confident in how you manage tricky situations. 

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