Have you ever asked yourself what the true meaning of NO is? According to the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, they define no as “a negative answer or reply to a question, request, or offer.” Doesn’t this definition seem pretty simple and straight forward? Why then do most people (especially parents) have such a tough time saying no to certain situations, others, and most importantly to their kids? Let’s face it saying no is probably one of the hardest things to say because most of us don’t want to hear it ourselves or be considered the bad guy especially when it comes to parenting our children, yes?
If you have been a reader or follower of mine for any length of time, you know that for as many years as I can remember (or you have read) I have been involved in sales/service throughout my career. With that comes a lot of NO’s. I have heard no told to me in just about every situation. The good… I no longer let a no get me down. The bad… I’m not completely sure that I am a good teacher to my kid in the no category, as I find myself saying “yes” to him quit often. Why is this? Why can I take a no but not dish out enough no’s in the parenting arena? Well the only way I figure I can combat my own weaknesses with the word no is to actually put into writing a couple ways to use no in a positive manner to actually help myself (more importantly) my kid grow up with a better idea of what no can lead to in the future for himself.
1) Honesty is the Best Method– I often hear other parents being talked into different items at different stores by their children even if they know they can’t afford it. Even if it’s a pack of gum or candy bar, more of us need to do a better job explaining to our children that even an extra dollar spent isn’t/wasn’t in the budget. A little honesty in saying no can/should go a long way and I would like to believe later in life my kid (yours too) should be more equipped to purchase things that he/they really need, not things he/they merely want. Be honest with them now and they will be honest with themselves and us later.
2) Find Replacement Words (Phrases) – Who doesn’t want to use other words that mean the same thing? Using alternative words or phrases for a simple no is a good way to mix things up, yes? We just mentioned that honesty with our children goes a long way perhaps instead of consistently saying no let us try to use more phrases like “maybe another time,” “let’s think about it,” or a simple as “not today!” These phrases are not a clear-cut no and give all us parents different ways to say no without be dishonest.
3) Keep It Simple Stupid (K.I.S.S.) – One of my favorite phrases throughout my sales career has always been KISS. This basically means that the more you talk the less people are going or be willing to buy. Why not use this same approach with our children when saying no? Instead of telling our kids no over and over again or using lengthy explanations, why don’t we try shorter explanations like “it is not okay to take the snack, controller, or toy away from that kid,” then simply give your kid an alternative like another snack, controller, or toy. This eliminates the use of no and replaces it an alternative explanation… KISS!
Saying no to anyone, especially our children is hard. However, most people and more importantly children need to hear it and if they don’t then more times than not you’ll end up with a spoiled rotten brat, friend, or relative. I know this is a work in progress for my little family but I will continue to use my own strategies suggested earlier as well as others y’all might suggest. Until next time, thanks for stopping by and remember to keep smiling regardless of the circumstance.