The Important Reason I Say No To My Kid
So a pretty popular "parenting style" these days is positive parenting. One of the key aspects of it is being a "yes" parent and avoiding saying no to your children as much as possible. The idea is that by saying yes as much as possible, you're creating a positive environment for your child, one where they can confident in their decisions. One of the main points parents make is that when our kids grow up they'll face a lot of "no" so why not let them enjoy a childhood of "yes" first.
Let me be clear, I don't see anything really wrong with this mindset. But sorry, it doesn't work for me. We say no. We probably say no a lot by many standards. Why? Because the answer is no at that time. "No, you may not have a snack right before dinner." "No, you may not throw toys all over the living room I just tidied." "No, you may not continue to play at the park when I said it's time to go home."
Here's the thing. Something I agree with about the positive parenting approach is that kids will hear "no" a lot as adults. They won't get jobs they want, they won't get a date, etc. They will have to do things they don't want to do and they will not get to do things they want to. We all know that because that's real life. And while I see why this reality may lead a parent to want to give their child the best of the best while they're young, I can't get on board with that.
I feel like my job as a parent is to provide them opportunities to experience the reality of "no" slowly and in small ways. My job is to prepare them and give them the skills they need to cope with it. If I don't say no now, I just can't imagine they're going to handle it well when others say no later (and about things that are a much bigger deal than watching 10 more minutes of TV before bed.)
I don't like to judge others or put down other parent's decisions. But something I feel really strongly about is doing our duty as parents so our kids do not grow up to be well.. brats. It's glaringly obvious which people I know and grew up with were never exposed to the ideas of disappointment and rejection when they were kids. The kids that were so confident developed into bossy teenagers and now they've grown up to be either a mess who takes every small inconvenience extremely hard or an entitled brat who no one wants to be around because everything has to be their way.
Is this always the case? Of course not. Every child, family and household does things differently and being a "yes" family doesn't automatically mean your kids will "turn out bad." And a child who is not raised that way is not guaranteed to turn out a well-adjusted adult, either. But every parent has to make the decisions they feel fit their children best.
My son hates the word "no" as much as any other child. When I say no, there's always a decent chance he's going to try to ignore me. We're not perfect in any sense of the word. But I don't stop saying it and I don't back down when he persists against the rules. That is NOT an easy thing to do when you're exhausted and your kid is whining. But for us, it is the right thing to do.
I think, if being a "yes" parent works for you, great. But I wanted to speak up for the parents who it's not working for. I wanted to say something to the parents who feel like their child is running the house and they've lost control. You don't have to follow the trend. It's okay to say no. You are not going to scar your child for life if you don't let them bang on pots and pans for 3 hours when you have a headache. You are in fact the boss and asserting that will not hurt your kids, in fact it may be the best thing for them.
So, next time you're at the park and you hear another mom say, "No, don't pick up the stones." Just be quiet. A "we don't like to say no in our house" is not needed. She's probably trying to save her kid from a) eating them or b) throwing them at your kid. We are all doing our best to raise happy, healthy children. I think it's time we recognize that not everyone can or should take the same path to get to that destination. So remember, find what works for you and then mind your own motherhood.