When To Say "No"

When To Say "No"

A parent was kind enough to take the time and send me this inquiry:

"I'm a "yes man".

It's my go - to instinct, especially when it comes to my children. I love to make their every wish come true, and to be perfectly honest, I think I'm afraid of the outbursts that ensue after I say the big bad word "NO"!

Ok, I'll admit it. I'm a pleaser. I like to avoid confrontation and also try to rationalize that their crying can't be emotionally healthy for them?!

Since doing a real deep dive into social emotional health, and how to properly parent with that goal in mind, I have learned that saying NO can be such an important component to raising healthy and resilient children. It is such a valuable way to teach them to have self-respect and to be able to demand that their boundaries be respected and upheld.

I am particular about giving my iPhone to my kids to play with. That's my thing. I know that many other parents do. Don't worry, my kids remind me of that all the time lol. But I've learned to hold my ground. I say "no" in most loving way that I can, but it remains a "no".

I just want to make sure I'm not harming my child's emotional health."


I immediately got flashbacks from this story and it completely resonated - I too was YES MOM! Becoming a psychologist and therapist was a journey that opened my own eyes, and in the process I knew it wasn't practical to always say yes to my kids' demands.

I remember when I had the eye-opening experience that made it all click. My preschooler was sharing his book happily with my daughter (it had been given as a gift to him from his teacher). Suddenly, he grabs the book and started yelling "no, it's mine! You can't have it!" while hugging his book.

I was about to jump in and encourage him to continue to share!


But then I recognized something beautiful.

That was a wonderful display of self-actualization. He understood the concept of ME and MINE and that HE had the POWER to set BOUNDRIES and assert that they are RESPECTED!!

When I am saying "NO" I am modeling for my child SELF RESPECT and how to create healthy boundaries. Children are craving for us to model this. It gives them a strong sense of security and confidence.


So next time you want to be a YES man, think of your child in the future being able to say "NO " when their boundaries are being pushed with a guy in her dorm room... You will start to see this differently...

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