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Finding Healthy Ways to Appease Your Child

As parents, it’s natural to want to make our kids happy. We all want to see our children smile and take away their pain when they are sad or upset. However, constantly giving in to a child’s demands or trying to appease them at every turn can lead to entitled, spoiled behavior. Kids need structure, boundaries, and to learn they can’t always get what they want. But there are healthy ways we can appropriately appease our kids from time to time.

Pick Your Battles

Not every minor infraction or request from your child needs to turn into a power struggle. Kids are still learning and testing limits, so as parents we have to decide what’s truly important to address. If your daughter wants to wear mismatched socks to school or your son resists eating his vegetables, these may not be issues worth an argument. Save your energy for teaching the more significant lessons. You can let the little things go.

Offer Small Choices

Instead of automatically saying no, give your child limited options whenever possible. For example, if your kid refuses to put on their shoes, you could say, “Would you like to wear your red or blue sneakers today?” This makes them feel they have some control, but you are still maintaining the boundary around wearing shoes. Offering a choice between two good options can diffuse power struggles.

Provide Explanations

Young kids especially have a hard time with “no” without any explanation. Providing age-appropriate reasons helps them understand rules and requests, leading to better compliance. You might explain, “We can’t buy candy right now because we’re having dinner soon” or “It’s time to leave the park so we can get home before bedtime.” ThisAcknowledging their feelings while providing logic helps appease.

Give Them Attention

Sometimes children act out simply because they want your time and attention. If you’ve been busy or distracted, try giving your child some undivided 1-on-1 focus. Playing with them or reading together for even 10-15 minutes can go a long way. Positive attention, without giving in to inappropriate behavior, can appease their need for connection.

Offer Small Treats

The promise of a small reward or treat can provide motivation for kids to cooperate with requests. This could be something as simple as a sticker for putting away their toys or an extra bedtime story for timely arrival at the dinner table. You can also motivate with fun activities like allowing your child to pick the next family movie night if they finish their homework without arguing.

Provide Comfort Items

Keep your child’s favorite stuffed animal, blanket, book, or other comfort items readily available to help appease them when needed. These familiar objects can ease tension and give a sense of security. Keep them in your car, bag or anywhere you may need help settling an upset child. Offering the comfort item along with a hug or soft words can help appease meltdowns.

Act Silly

Humor goes a long way with kids. If your child is grumpy, frustrated or defiant, acting silly to get them laughing can quickly change their mood. Make funny faces, dance around or pretend to fall over. Laughter is contagious and gets kids out of negative mindsets. Being playful and keeping things light will appease more effectively than anger or threats.

Say Yes More Often

Look for opportunities to grant little requests, agree to ideas or accommodate your child. Saying yes does not mean no rules or boundaries. It simply means looking for times when there is no reason to say no, and letting your child feel heard and respected. Agreeing to little things like letting them pick dinner one night or take the lead on an activity makes a big impact.

Parenting requires navigating when to hold firm and when a little appeasement goes a long way. Offering empathy, explanations, choices and fun will typically guide kids in the right direction. The key is appeasing thoughtfully and purposely, not simply giving in to inappropriate behavior. Meet tantrums with understanding but stick to important boundaries. Thoughtful appeasement strategies lead to cooperation and a peaceful home.