When your child looks up at you with those big beautiful eyes, asking for something that they probably don't need but clearly really want, it can be incredibly difficult to say "no." The temptation to cave can be overwhelming. In a recent interview, Chrissy Teigen said that John Legend is the "pushover parent," forcing her to be the bad guy in their household and the struggle is real. Legend isn't alone in his inability to stand firm, but sometimes kids need to be told no, even if they don't think so in the moment.
When speaking to BUILD Series, Teigen discussed Legend's best and worst parenting skills. “He will say no and then if [Luna] asks one more time, it’s a yes,” said. “He’s a bit of a pushover with Luna. I think it’s because they look so much alike and he’s like, ‘Okay, you beautiful being. Anything you want.'” She went on to say that this forces her to be the tough guy, according to People. “It’s always a thing in any household, there’s always one.”
Teigen is right about that, parents often fall into roles of the good cop and bad cop with their children. And while the tougher parent may not feel good drawing the line at the time, being comfortable saying "no" is an important parenting skill.
David Walsh, Ph.D., the founder of the National Institute on Media and the Family told Scholastic Parents that struggling to say no is a common occurrence and a growing dilemma for many parents. When asked why parents have such a hard time saying no, Walsh explained that parents often have limited time with their children and the guilt associated with that can make discipline difficult:
When we are with our kids, we want them to be happy and have positive feelings about the time they spend with us, so we end up doing things they will like, and we're reluctant to say "no."
Walsh went on to explain that saying no has a great benefit for kids. It teaches them to be determined as resourceful, because disappointment can build self-esteem:
If we shield our kids too much they never get practice at dealing with disappointment. But when children are allowed to work through those disappointments, they might realize, "This won't work, but I'll try something else." They build the sense that there are no dead ends, just solutions they haven't found yet. They also learn determination and patience. If we jump in and rescue our kids, it actually eats away at self-esteem.
Legend's tendency to say no at first and then give in if Luna asks again is a common mistake, according to Parenting. Backing down can seriously backfire, though. Bridget Barnes, coauthor of Common Sense Parenting for Toddlers and Preschoolers, told the outlet that consequences are crucial to child development. Rather than repeatedly make threats without follow-through, Barnes recommended that parents always do what they say they will:
Repeatedly saying 'If you don't stop throwing sand, I'm going to make you leave the sandbox' won't stop the bad behavior. What your child hears is 'I can keep doing this a few more times before Mom makes me stop.' Instead, give a warning, and then, if your child does it again, give an immediate consequence such as a time-out. If he continues, leave.
The next time that the behavior surfaces, Barnes suggested that parents use a gentles reminder of the previous consequence. Saying something like, "Remember how we had to leave when you threw the sand? I hope we don't have to go home early again today," should do the trick.
Discipline may not be Legend's strong suit, but he's still a great dad, according to Teigen. “He’s also insanely patient,” she said, adding that “He’s amazing at diaper changing still.” Despite his busy life, parenting remains Legend's number one priority. “He gives them so much attention no matter what’s going on in his life or my life or work-wise," she said. "They never feel like they’re like second to work and I think he’s really great with that.”
As the pair continues to grow as parents and navigate the waters of child rearing, hopefully Legend gets a bit more comfortable with saying no to his adorable children. In the meantime, I have no doubt that Teigen has it handled.