N-O! I say it all day long. It just might be my favorite word. “No, you can’t eat Pringles at 9am; No, I’m not straightening your hair at 8pm; No, I’m not buying you a sprinkle donut before dinner; and No, I’m not giving you $20 to blow at the school store on useless crap.” No, no, no AND no!
I may sound harsh, but saying NO sure is effective. I spend a lot of time with other moms and many times it seems that they “yes” the shit out of their kids just to shut them up. It’s always easier to give in than it is to say no and deal with the consequence of a screaming child. But feeding into the yes frenzy just fuels the fire. The constant requests and eventual demands will never end. Trying to crawl out of the yes pit is nearly impossible.
Don’t get me wrong I say yes a lot. But I save it for when it really counts. “Yes, I’ll read with you; Yes, you can have a small, healthy snack before dinner; Yes, I’ll paint your nails after homework is done. And Yes, you can have a sleepover if you earn it with good behavior during the week.” Saying yes makes you feel good inside as a parent. I, too, would love to say yes to my children’s every request. But, it’s counterproductive though if you do.
I promise you this – it does not make you a better or more compassionate parent because you say yes to everything. Actually it makes you a sucker. Your child won’t look at you as an authority figure but rather as a genie in a bottle who grants every wish. You’ll soon be singing “Mr. Aladdin, sir, what will your pleasure be?” You might as well take off your big girl pants because soon she’ll be bossing you around.
Respect between parent and child is formed when you set limits. Children are like puppies. If you give them too much freedom, they’ll pee all over your house. As soon as you start teaching them the house rules, they thrive in a good way. A puppy who is house trained and doesn’t rip up your shoes and furniture is a much more enjoyable pet. Same goes for children. Teach them limits and they will grow into more grateful and appreciate individuals.
Don’t let me fool you though. My children are no angels. They do understand my limits, yet they attempt to stretch them daily. A trip to the supermarket is filled with “Can I have?” and “I really want those” comments every aisle we walk down. However, I try to establish an expectation before we go some place where they will be tempted to inquire for things. I say that we are going to the store for these specific items and I will not buy anything else. I remind them of that before we go, in the car, and again in the store. And although it’s so repetitive, it seriously cuts down on the in-store requests. It also lets them focus on what we need and they help me locate it quickly. It holds them accountable. Sometimes I even throw in some positive reinforcement. I let them know that if they can follow the rule, I will reward them with something. It doesn’t have to be tangible – a trip to the playground, painting nails, watching a movie. Remember the puppy analogy. They will work for treats or even just some really enthusiastic “I’m proud of you’s.”
Your children will love you no matter how many times a day you say no. Don’t cut yes out of your vocabulary, but save it for when it really counts.
Mama’s Mantra: Man up and say NO. Teach your children limits. Becoming a yes mom does not make you a better mom.
photo credit: Horia Varlan <ahref=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/10361931@N06/4536149424″>The word no made from jigsaw puzzle pieces</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>(license)</a>