- Family and Parenting»
- Parenting Skills, Styles & Advice
Just say "NO"!
"No" isn't Necessarily a Bad Word
Parents have a tough job, probably the toughest job on earth. They love their children and they want what's best for them, and strive everyday to give them what they need. Unfortunately sometimes parents mistakenly think that being a good parent involves giving their child everything he or she wants, and they work tirelessly to provide the child's every wish.
I have seen parents allow their small children to stay up until late at night because they didn't want to go to bed. A couple I know allowed their daughter to keep her pacifier until she was 5 years old, in spite of the fact that she got repeated throat infections and her pediatrician advised them to remove the pacifier. They said they couldn't bear to hear her cry when they tried to take it away!
Permissive parents allow their children to beg, whine and manipulate them until they get what they want. They feel like bad parents when then say no and eventually change their no to a yes. Children learn the tricks to getting what they want and the greater lesson is that they will get everything they want in life. This creates selfish adults who can't handle the harsh reality of life: You don't always get what you want!
Some parents give their teens whatever they ask for and even go into debt to provide the latest iphone, ipad or laptop. Cars are often a graduation gift to kids who haven't worked a day in their life and haven't been good students. Somehow parents feel that they owe it to their kids. When parents learn to say "No, I'm sorry" or "We can't afford it", teens learn to wait and to work to get what they want. They learn that things don't come easy, and take effort. They learn the value of delayed gratification instead of instant gratification. They also learn resourcefulness, and may find ways to earn money to buy what they want, such as sell old toys, wash cars for neighbors, or rake leaves.
Sometimes kids want to participate in social activities that aren't necessarily good things, such as late night parties, or road trips with other teens and no adult supervision. If parents don't have the backbone to say no when the circumstances are obviously not in the best interest of the child, the child's safety is put at risk and parents may regret it for the rest of their lives. Most parents who have lost a teen to drugs or a car accident would say that they should have said "No" to their teen's request and they would still be alive today.
There were times when I should have said "No" to my kids, but didn't. Fortunately they survived and make wise choices in the end, but I know that I should have said no many times when I said yes instead.
As a parent of a child or teen, saying "No" is sometimes the most loving thing you can do.