Education and parenting articles from the King's team

Building Resilience - It Really Is OK to Say "No"

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Building Resilience - It Really Is OK to Say No

I think I upset another mother today ...

My children and I were getting into the lift at our local shopping centre and my boy was excited about pressing the button. One of the little girls with the other mother darted over to the buttons and pressed the button her mother asked her to. My boy asked if he too could press the button and I replied, 'We don't need to now, the other little girl has done it. You can press a button another time."

My son was happy with this (we have worked VERY hard with him on accepting a 'no' answer sometimes) but what I found interesting is that the other very well-meaning mother said to my boy, '"Would you like to come and press the button too?"

She was only being kind but I politely declined her offer, really trying to reinforce to my son that sometimes we don't always get what we want. And I think she gave me a 'you are a little harsh' look, or maybe she was just tired too!

It got me thinking this afternoon:

Are we trying to let our children 'press the button' everytime?

Or are we teaching them that sometimes situations have a 'no' attached, even when they'd prefer they did not?

Please don't mistake me here, I am up there with the best of them when it comes to lavishing our children. I truly look forward to give them experiences and possessions they love, but there are times when 'no' is the best possible scenario for my child. Professionals sometimes like to call this, 'Building Resilience'.

If I let my child do everything he'd like to (even if it would be ok for him to do it), how am I helping him to learn that:

''No, you can't have a PlayStation today" will happen?

"No, you can't go to that movie" is going to happen?

"No, you can't date that person (you're only 14!!!)" is going to happen?

"No, sorry, you didn't get the job you wanted this time" is going to happen?

The list goes on...

If we create in our children a true understanding (by saying no and, perhaps even more importantly, sticking to it) that sometimes 'Nos' will come our way, surely we can teach them to have a greater depth of joy when they learn that:

"Yes, you've saved your pocket money, you can buy a new toy" will happen.

"Yes, that's an appropriate outing, you can go!" will happen.

"Yes, you've trained hard and made the team"will happen.

"Yes, you're successful with your offer, congratulations on purchasing the house" will happen.

Some may say I'm jumping the gun, but I am convinced that starting with baby steps (or baby 'Nos') in the early years is the best possible way to create children of character who will in turn become adults who shape our world into a better place.

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Topics: Parenting, Behaviour, Preschool, Prep, Toddlers

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