Parenting and the Word, “No”

The importance of learning the word no

One of the most important words, we as parents can learn to say is “no”.  I realize that I’m starting this post off on a rather negative note, and it’s certainly not my style, but it’s a hard lesson to learn and I was reminded of it just this week.  All you have to do is spend a little time out in the malls shopping with a child or observing other parents shopping with their children to see what I’m talking about.

Parenting and Personality Style

Some parenting personality styles have more trouble saying no than others.  For instance, if you are  ‘D’ personality (think dominant and direct), you probably wonder why anyone would write a post about saying no, never mind have trouble saying the words.  However, if you are any of the 3 remaining personality styles you understand the problem from a different perspective.  ‘I’ personalities (inspiring and interactive) don’t say no because they love to say yes to everything fun and exciting.  They can find themselves in a frenzy with too many commitments and no time. ‘S’ personalities (sweet and supportive) probably have the most trouble saying no because they want to please everyone and don’t want to disappoint anyone.  They are likely to find themselves involved in so many projects that they have no time for themselves at all.  Finally, ‘C’ personalities (careful  and conscientious)  have trouble saying no because they want to make absolutely sure they have gotten all the facts before they make a decision and say no to anything.   They tend to over think a situation and have trouble taking action.

It’s not just about saying no to children and all their requests. There are many areas in our lives where saying no is healthy and a good idea year.  Do you limit yourself and say no to material things that you can’t afford?  Do you make careful choices about where you spend your time or do you say yes to everything that comes down the pike because you don’t want to miss out on any experience?  Do you say yes to things because you’d feel guilty if you said no, even though you really don’t want to spend your time doing what you just agreed to do?  Finally, do you say yes to things because you don’t want your child to be unhappy even though you can’t afford monetarily or time-wise to honor their request?

Teaching a Valuable Lesson

As parents, we do a disservice to our children when we always say yes and don’t teach them the value of saying no.  Of course we can spoil them with too many material things but the real danger is that by never modeling how to say no, we never teach them to say no to themselves as adults. I was reminded of this lesson myself when teaching  a Dave Ramsey Financial Peace group. One of the young adults in the group explained that budgeting was extremely hard for her because as a child growing up, her parents managed to somehow buy everything she wanted, even if it meant sacrificing themselves.  Consequently now as an adult, she has a very hard time saying no to herself whenever she wants something even when it wrecks havoc with her finances.   When we don’t say no to our children, we don’t just spoil them for the moment.  We are also modeling  for them how to handle their own future decisions.

How do you as a parent balance saying no with saying yes to your children?  How successful are you at saying no to yourself?  Where do you think you learned that?  Share your ideas in the comment section.

Wyatt the Wonder Dog Learns about Friendship

It’s not easy being the new kid at school, especially if you are a cat and everyone else is a dog.  How do you make friends?  Can you even be friends with someone who is totally different from you?  Wyatt the Wonder Dog helps solve Ami’s friendship problem with empathy and compassion. A great story for teaching children the critical life skill of making friends.

Wyatt Learns about Friendship