Of all the issues that come up for parents one of the most difficult and confusing is the one of when to say “Yes” and when to say “No.” And yet it’s the issue that comes up most often. No wonder so many parents are stressed.
The reason it comes up so often is that children have wants – and lots of them. They want to explore their world, to stay at the park, to have ice cream, to watch that movie on TV and for you to buy them the latest toy or game. It can go on and on. Working out what to say in response to all that wanting can be difficult. It is an ongoing challenge for me to speak these simple words with clarity, honesty and integrity. I am still experimenting and learning every day and I want to share what I have discovered so far.
All this wanting only becomes a problem if a child does not get what they want. Saying “Yes” to my child is wonderful if it is done with honesty and integrity. That means that the thinking behind my “Yes” is important to me. I don’t want to play at saying Yes” when I secretly feel an inner “No”. I call this “giving in.” I might do it in order to appear nice or to get my child to go away or because I have been worn down into a state of submission. “Giving in” does not feel good. This is because it is dishonest. I can tell if I have been dishonest because I end up feeling resentful and blaming my child for being “demanding”, or “making me” do something. If I persist with this habit it will crush my spirit and confuse and distress my child.
On the other hand, helping my child with an honest “Yes” brings me great joy. I don’t believe that giving my children what they want will bring them lasting happiness, but it feels good. I am happy for my children to experience abundance in their lives and also to experience the natural consequences of their choices. I am available to help them in their learning process as they work out how they want to live their lives. (more…)