I picked up a great little book by David Walsh, PhD yesterday called, No: Why Kids-of All Ages-Need to Hear It and Ways Parents Can Say It.
Now, any child, including my own, who has been in my home, knows that the word rolls off of my tongue just as easily as “I love you” does. So really, I am not in need of much help in saying “no”. As one visiting four year old has been known to say “Miss Pam has too many rules”. And perhaps I do. At the same time, children know what to expect when visiting me. They can be assured of relative safety, violence is a definite “no”. They can be pretty sure that there will not be homemade cookies. But there will be chips and salsa on most days. Children know that they can watch Spongebob in my house…even though I’m certain he kills brain cells. But they also know that after one episode, I’m going to tell them to turn off the TV and find something better to do.
I may not be the coolest Mom to hang out with, but that is not my job. My job is to make sure that my sons are as well grounded as humanly possible. I want my sons to have a work ethic and the ability to provide for a family. I want them to have respect for women, I want them to remain strong in their faith. I want them to be upstanding husbands and fathers. I also know that these things require me to disappoint them by saying no. A little delayed gratification is needed in this day and age. It is hard lesson, but it is easier if it is learned at a young age.
Plus, I want to make sure that my kids get the most out of their therapy dollars…when they complain about me when they are thirty I at least want them to complain that I was too hard on them, instead of them complaining about their ruined lives because I spoiled them!