When I was a young mom, I once heard someone say it is beneficial to try and say “yes” as much as possible. I understood their intent. Kids can ask us sooo many things and they do it hundreds of times a day. So when you say “no” all of the time, it can start to become discouraging for them. Frustration and a negative feeling can over take them.
I get that. And actually, I’ve tried to follow that advice for the most part. I try to pick my battles and say “yes” as much as I possibly can.
On the flip side, I do say “no.” I say it often and I’m not afraid of using the word. For “no” sometimes can spare my child a great deal of hurt. It can protect them. That one word. Sure, they may not like my answer. They may be upset or even angry with me for giving it. But I know, that when I tell my children “no” it is because I am looking at a bigger picture. I am seeing what could result if I said “yes” to them.
Sometimes, I know my child’s heart and motives even when they don’t see it themselves. I know they are asking something out of peer pressure or a desire to see a certain boy, or even for desired independence. I weigh each one of those in my own heart and mind to decide if this particular instance would be detrimental or beneficial to them in the long run.
Sometimes, I know that my child is learning bad habits. Greed. Indulgence. Getting spoiled. Taking someone for granted (me?) They need to be reminded to have moderation, balance, appreciation, contentment, and self control. So I say “no.”
Sometimes I’m just plain uncomfortable with a situation. My instincts tell me that the environment is not one I want to encourage my child to be in. Or I feel something unsettled in my heart about a friend. I’ve both trusted and not trusted my instincts in these times and the times I didn’t trust my instinct have taught me to always listen to that inner voice inside of me. So I say, “no.”
“No” CAN be a good word. It can save our children from making poor choices. It can save their lives at times. It can teach them. It can equip them and make them stronger, wiser, more discerning.
I don’t like to roll the dice when it comes to my kids. I don’t give their lives up to chance. I fight for them. And sometimes that means saying “no.” It is for their own good. For their own benefit. And I know they will be better off because I have not been afraid to do it.
To me, that’s true love.