I was asked to speak at a parenting seminar. They gave me the title and told me to run with it. I suppose their premise was that parents are afraid to say no, don’t know how to say no or don’t know when to say no. (I don’t think it’s a problem I have.) I seem to be able to say no with ease. In fact, I have several no words that seem to do the trick. Then I did some research and found out there are huge controversies over how and when to tell your children no. I found over 1000 articles about how to tell your children no without saying no! I am confused.
Let me share a quick example. “I know you like ice cream, but eating too much is not good.” I get that is a reason that a child shouldn’t eat too much ice cream. I don’t know if anyone in my family would stop with that statement no matter the age. (We all have the right to do stupid things and suffer the consequences.) My family respect a hard no and sometimes I offer a reason. If I were to use their example I would still use the word no. It would look like this.
“I know you like ice cream, but eating too much is not good. No, you cannot have any right now.”
It all reminded me of a silly song.
I stuck by my guns and went with my theory, that really there is not a need to sugarcoat parenting. Be kind, thoughtful, clear and direct and allow your children to be the same.
When Kraig announced “I don’t like it when you wear the color orange. It makes you look funny.”
“Well thank you for letting me know. Now I know if want to dress up like a clown. orange would be a good color for me.”
My thoughts were not what these “progressive” parents wanted to hear. They lined up to let me know that my way would scar children for life. (They told me they were progressive, I don’t even know what the term entails.)
I gave my typical response. “That’s wonderful. The only way we learn different things and examine our own beliefs is to listen tolerantly to those who have different beliefs and ponder the information from all sides.”