No is a regular part of my day. Honestly, I hear it so frequently that I couldn’t even begin to tell you the number of times this particular word crosses my path in any one given day. And if I’m being totally honest it probably comes out of my mouth just as frequently, mainly with my kids, and occasionally my husband. ;-) No you can’t watch cartoons right now. No, you can’t have a freezie. No! Do not throw that toy upstairs. I do ‘try’ to explain why as often as I can muster, but there are definitely times it is just a NO!
My children teach me things all the time, some new, some that I once had but have lost along the way. If my kids don’t want to do something they simply say no. If my son doesn’t feel like playing that particular imagination game with his friend he says no. If riding his bike at the moment is not what he wants to do, “No” it is. Little Sister also has no problem telling her Big Brother “No!” whenever she doesn’t want to do something.
One of the best parts about the way my kids say No is that it is no big deal at all. They don’t stress about saying no. They are not worried about how the no will be received. Even better, usually when they say No to others it is received very well. Their friends don’t get mad, or treat them any differently. That pressure is just not there the same way it is when we are adults.
Now I’m not trying to argue that you should be saying no all the time. In fact the thing that makes the most sense to me as an initial reaction is more along the lines of maybe. If your first instinct is to say no, in some cases not all, it is good to analyze the real reason why exactly are you saying no. What is behind it? From there you can figure out if that is truly the direction you want to go.
Reversely, if you jump into saying yes too quickly, often you get yourself caught up in something that hasn’t been thought through and maybe not the greatest situation. At this point saying “no” is much more difficult.
There are definitely times your answer does not need to be thought through. You know exactly where you stand and are ready to respond. However, I’m left wondering around what age does saying No start to become a big deal? At what point do you begin to agonize more over it, and feel bad or guilty using the word?
Do you think it is possible to teach your children as they get older that saying No really isn’t a big deal? It is after all, just a word.
Do we start by letting go of control and letting others feel completely comfortable and unpressured saying No to us? It is commonly understood the best thing we can do for our children is to lead by example. I don’t want my kids to have issues saying no. I also want them to feel like it is OK sometimes to have to think about it first.
Do you think as a society it is possible for us to teach our children to keep their innocent ability to say No that they already possess? Do you think it is possible to teach them to take No for an answer just as easily?
Thank you for leaving any thoughts you’d like to share in the comments!