I had a shocking thought last week about how I say NO to everything. I say no to my kids, my partner, myself. I was driving along when my three year old starting asking me for juice.
“Juice mummy! I need juice!”
“No, you don’t need juice and mummy is driving.”
Wait, what? Did I just tell a three year old that they aren’t thirsty? How the hell would I know? I’m not him, he is the only one who knows that he is thirsty. So how dare I tell him that he wasn’t thirsty!
This is a trend which I noticed recently, not just with me but with many other parents. I see children asking for a go on the toy rides at the shopping centre and the parents say no, it only costs a pound and makes the kid happy for a minute, what’s the big deal? Our children’s happiness should be the most important thing in the world to us, so what is the harm in allowing them a ride on a toy or a packet of treats to help break up the boredom of shopping or whatever activity you have trailed them along to. Why say NO?
For me, it goes beyond that. Remember when you were little and you asked your parents for stuff? When you were really young, you didn’t think twice about it, but over the years you slowly gave up. Time after time you were told NO until you just stopped asking. What if we carry that into adulthood with us? Are we afraid to ask as adults because we were told NO as children? Maybe that’s why we are scared to ask for more money, better job, more respect. Is our nine year old self is sitting in the back of our minds telling us that there is no point asking, we will just be told NO? And has this affected us as parents? Do we say NO more than we should to our own children because we were told NO so much as children?
So many questions and I don’t have the answers to them. But it is worth thinking about. Do we say NO too much? Would it be so awful if we said YES more often? I’m not saying spoil your kids but maybe give in a bit more often. Read that extra story at bedtime. Go to the park more often. Play a game when they ask. Use your judgement as a parent to make these choices but make some of them a YES.