It is safe to say that every child refuses to hear “no” from parents. Children love getting their way, and will nag until they get exactly what they are looking for. Sometimes parents give in and sometimes they do not. When parents say no, this is when the child turns to the aunt. Even though aunts are authority, children see them more as friends. There is nothing wrong with being friends with your niece or nephew. However, it is important never to undermine a parent's final decision.
I recall when my niece and nephew were very young. They insisted on purchasing something every time we visited a store. When my sister would say no, they would turn to me. Even though I was fully aware the answer was a strict no, I felt terrible saying no to them. I made the mistake of giving in a few times and overstepping my boundaries. I learned by disregarding my sister’s final decision that I was setting a bad example for my niece and nephew.
As they blossomed from little kids to teenagers, I learned how to say no in a friendly and loving manner.
Calmly yet firmly say no
You may feel like the bad guy by firmly saying no, but you shouldn’t. You are doing nothing wrong. When speaking to your nieces or nephews remain calm and let the children know you understand where they are coming from. However, they need to understand where you are coming from as well. You are still an authority figure and should be taken seriously. Therefore, if their parents say no, you must respect their wishes.
Provide a brief explanation
Many times kids need to hear more than just a “no.” Therefore, it wouldn’t hurt providing them with a brief explanation as to why the answer is no. The children are more inclined to take a step back from pushing the issue if you share a reason.
Accepting “no” maturely can result in a “yes” at a later time
My niece and nephew constantly request the newest gadgets, clothing and so forth. Unfortunately, it is impossible for their parents to grant everything they desire. Whenever the kids become antsy and refuse to take “no” for an answer, they still turn to me. The difference is, I now know how to say no without the guilt. I incorporate what I have learned throughout the years and explain to them why the answer has to be no. But I am sure to include that there will be times when the answer will be yes, but it has to be at the right time. It’s all about patience and understanding.
As an aunt, saying “no” to your nieces or nephews can be difficult. The last thing you want to do is disappoint them. However, at the end of the day, you know it is for the best. You are demonstrating discipline and respecting the parents’ rules. Within time, your nieces and nephews will understand why certain things cannot be allowed at a certain time.
Mayra Colón is a freelance writer, former independent author and avid reader. She holds a MBA from the University of Phoenix and completed the Freelance Writing and Selling Online course from Rutgers University of Arts and Sciences.