Google+ Authentic Parenting: Why We Say No

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Why We Say No

I was thinking about the 'no' issue again. I have said it before, and for the sake of repetition will say it again: I believe 'no' is best kept for rare occasions, such as when a child is in danger.
Effecting this theory in real life can prove rather trialing.
But that is not what I wanted to write about. What I want to write about is the psychology behind saying 'no'. All of us, excepts perhaps those who are really disciplined, say 'no' way to often, but where do those no's come from?

What I want you to do today is find out what things exactly you are urged to say no to, and then ask yourself why.

You might find out that a lot of those 'no's' stem from personal gain: something you don't want broken, not wanting to be bothered while performing a task, too lazy to seek other options such as diversion. (note: the laziness remark is not an insult, it is a common denominator in mankind to seek out the easiest route, and saying 'no' often is).
You might find that the 'no' is very rarely in your child's interest.

So if you have investigated when and why you say no, let me know in the comments below.



  1. We switched to RED LIGHT when he is wandering away/running off and question our no's. If the answer really is no, what can be yes? I prefer to give options, even if they may not be what he likes to hear. Sometimes, it is hard to step back and realize something isn't important: like mixing playdough colors.

  2. I've noticed I say it more when I am trying to do something else, or when I foresee the result will be a big mess for me to deal with later. I have been trying to say 'yes' more often, mess be damned!

  3. This is just me. But I was not raised knowing how children REALLY operate and I had unrealistic expectations. The truth is I would have been better off to know that sometimes curious kids break things or mess things up or are messy eaters. Our role is not to make sure our homes look like curio cabinets but to help kids succeed as best they can, and smile and clean up the milk mess. Having raised my kids for sometime now without scolding them about mistakes NEARLY as often, I can say it's not necessary to do it. But many parents/carers/adults don't seem to see this.

    I think a lot of people, myself and husband included back in the day, also think kids' natures will be corrupted unless we interfere a lot. I've found the reverse to be true. The less I interfere and the more I pay attention to needs (theirs and mind) the better "behaved" they are, and the more genuinely happy and fulfilled and other-minded we ALL are.

    As for raising kids without saying "no", I've found it works beautifully and far better than it did when I was a cop/authority/caretaker!

    Thanks for broaching an awesome topic.

  4. Yes, I notice that I get more irritated and say "no" more often if I'm immersed in something else. Thus why I try to limit my computer time to when the kids are sleeping or doing something that doesn't require my attention.

  5. I say no when I'm tired, overstretched, distracted or juggling too many commitments - in other words, when I'm not able to give my children, and the things they want to do, my full mindfulness. This is absolutely my problem, not theirs, and I am working to manifest it less, but I still have a ways to go.

    I also say no when the situation in dangerous, but it's funny - my kids, even the toddler, all recognise the different tone in my quick, reflexive "no" in these cases and will react accordingly.


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