No is important. No provides clear boundaries rather than the wishy-washy Maybe or I'll think about it. No needs to be clear, needs to be followed through upon, and needs to be serious so our children learn to obey it. This also means that it can't be the only thing out of a parent's mouth. Saying No too often leads to a desensitized kid who thinks the word is meaningless. Saying Yes is also important because a parent's approval of something is much more appreciated when there was actually a possibility of No.
Three Reasonable Responsibilities -
1. Be the Adult, Care Too Much: Basically, I care too much to allow you to cross this boundary. Testing the boundaries is normal, it is our responsibility as parents to make those boundaries strong and be consistent with enforcing them. "Limit testing really means 'please show me there is someone in my life who will not cave in and surrender every time I creat a test. Please be the adult, so I can relax with being a child.'" (psychologist Chick Moorman - Parent Talk).
2. Be Willing to Do Something: Be consistent, be clear and be swift. If we fail to act until the 9th time we say No, we teach our children that they can ignore the first 8 No's.
3. Know How to Resist: We need to be able to set a limit/boundary and be compassionate and empathetic toward the child while still maintaining the boundary. Just because we are saying NO, does not mean that we have to be heartless about it. Compassion and empathy are important, yet we still need to be clear with our No. "We'll talk about it." or other distracting and wishy-washy responses lead to confusion. Our decisions should not be made based on our fear that our child will not like us - kids will still like us even after we say No.
Wednesday, March 11, 2009