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Just Say No

In the midst of a toddler's "I-want-that-now" tantrum, it's normal to think that giving in will make things easier. But surprisingly, the opposite is true. Saying no helps teach your children about boundaries and lays the groundwork for them to accept the things they have -- and obey the rules -- rather than always demanding more.

There's solid science behind this idea. "Kids don't have a long-term view of things," says Dr. Gilbert. "They want what they want, and they want it now. But if they learn from an early age that you mean no, they'll stop resisting, and you'll be a more confident, contented parent."

Still, it's a good idea not to overuse the word. Say, for instance, you can't play a board game with your child when she asks because you need to make dinner. Instead of telling her, "No, I can't," say, "Yes, we can do it later." This will help you head off an argument and give your child something to look forward to. But make it clear that she can't nag you about it -- and be sure you keep your word.

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