Making Their Lists, But Not Checking Them Twice: Why parents can’t – but should – say no.
Whether you have toddlers or teens, a parent’s natural tendency is to strive for content and happy children. But, saying yes to what can feel like an endless stream of wants morphs into a damaging cycle that I call “yes-parenting.” Learn why parents have trouble saying no and steps to take to turn some of the holiday focus away from your children and move it in a compassionate direction.
Parents can’t say ‘no’
In the extreme, saying yes to what can feel like endless wants morphs into a damaging cycle that I call “yes-parenting.” For well-meaning “yes-parents,” the word no is a response steeped in negativity, the very thing they try to avoid. Some parents may argue that it makes them happy to say yes to their children. That’s valid to an extent. But the reality is that children benefit developmentally when parents say no.
When conducting research for “The Book of NO: 365 Ways to Say it and Mean it—and Stop People-Pleasing Forever,” I discovered myriad motives at the heart of yes-parent behavior. For example, you may give in or give permission, even if it makes your life more difficult or stressful, to alleviate guilt you have for not being able to spend as much time as you would like with your children.
You might say yes to buying unneeded toys or a shirt that your child’s best friend has so your child doesn’t feel deprived. Or, you might allow your teenager to attend a holiday gathering you are concerned about to be popular with your teen or to win your teen’s approval.