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.
photo credit: nathangibbs via photopin cc