Sunday, September 29, 2013

Saying No:Sometimes It Has to Be Said!

Many Sundays, I go to church and watch some of the little kids in our church behave however they wish. They wander down the aisle, stand on the pew, and the parent says nothing. Now, don't get me wrong, I love little kids in church, sometimes they lead to grown folk in church, which is nice.  However, I think there is a point when the parents should say no, this is not acceptable.

When I go to the supermarket, I watch children run through the store. The parent calmly continues shopping, calling out the names of their little, (or big), ones as if playing Marco Polo. Meanwhile, caring adults keep them from harm's way.

Sitting in a restaurant, a little one practically climbs over the booth onto your back. The parents smile, as if they are helpless to control the behavior of their child.

I know some of us had it rough growing up, and we don't want our children to go through what we went through, but you know what? Someone's going to have to disappoint a child once or twice in their life and tell them no, tell them this is not going to work.

No, you have to stay in the pew.  No, you can not stand on the bench. No, you can not run around the store. And, no, you have to stay on our side of the booth. And, if an explanation is deemed necessary by the adult, by all means do so.

When the children of "Yes" attend school, it's a shock to their system.
"Oh,no he/she didn't just tell me I couldn't..."
Or, they want a lengthy explanation as to why they can't or they think it's up for debate. I'm sorry, I don't have that kind of time, and I have way too many students. (I find that establishing rules, routines, and procedures helps eliminate the need for an explanation.)

When raising my own children, there were times when I gave in, and times when I said no, There were times I explained, and times when I went to the tried and true method, "because I said so."

As adults, we have to learn to say no to others as well, not just children. No, I am not attending that workshop. No, I choose not to use this in my classroom. No, I am not giving the test on the deadline date, my students are not ready. No, I am not willing to accept your evaluation of my teaching skills. And in an adult to adult case, I would definitely explain why.

Here's the thing with "no" though. It's a lot harder than "yes." When you say no, you have to be able to back it up. If you say no, you can't stand on the bench, and you give a full explanation for why, chances are that kids is still going to stand on the bench. When you say you are not attending another meeting, or doing another "thing", chances are you might experience retribution. "No" is not easy.

It's okay to say No. If we're going to create responsible adults, and/or maintain our sanity, sometimes "No" has to be said.

photo credit: nathangibbs via photopin cc


  1. Hi Lisa! You are preaching to the choir on this one! At my son's soccer practice this week, I watched as a mom with 3 small boys let them run wild. This had gone on for a while, when I looked up just in time to see her smallest toddle into the street right in front of car! Luckily, the driver was paying attention and a man sprinted into the street to rescue the boy. By the time mom arrived on scene (she was quite a ways away), she thanked the man and then proceeded to scream at the child and started swatting him. I wanted to tell her, "You're a horrible mother. You're the one who needs a swat". I'm not saying I won't tell her since I see her and her awful parenting at every practice!

  2. Hi Lisa! I totally agree with you on this. I have 3 children and all 3 of them are very well behaved. The teachers rave about them and family and friends always ask what I do to them :) Honestly I don't think I do anything special. However, my children know that no means no and that I expect them to behave accordingly. I don't believe in violence (even if it's only a little spanking). Our house is very quiet and calm and our children reflect just that. We don't make promises we can't keep and we don't tease children either.
    Sometimes I am appalled by the behaviour of children and the response from their parents. And sometimes I do have to say "No, in our house you are not allowed to do that". Surprisingly enough, it works :)
    Thanks for another interesting post!