I totally love the “be a yes mom” posts that are flying around the web.
We should say yes. Let them get dirty. Let them wear crazy, mismatched clothing. Let them eat ice cream for breakfast. Let them stomp in the puddles and play in the rain. Let them build blanket forts and cover the floor with legos.
I do those things and we sure have a lot of fun. My girls can wear crazy colors with the best of them.
But sometimes I really am more of a no mom.
I fully admit to saying no on a daily basis to my girls.
And I believe that, really and truthfully, we should be more no moms than yes moms.
Our kids need to hear no.
They need to understand the word and be okay with hearing it.
They will hear it for the rest of their lives.
In school. In the workplace. In marriage. Even in their relationship with God.
No is a big part of life and they need to be able to cope with hearing it every single day of their lives.
They need to know that being told no is a good thing with good boundaries. That no is a healthy and right word for life.
Kids need to be taught to respect the word no. They need to respect those who tell them no. They need to look beyond what they WANT and see the bigger picture.
Being a no mom will reap huge rewards in the futures of our children.
They will reap the reward throughout their entire time on this earth and for eternity.
Life isn’t just about being told yes. There is so much more to learn…
In fact, teaching our kids the value of no will teach them more than we can teach them by saying yes.
I know that is a bold statement in this popular season of “saying yes”… but I must say it is true.
So how can we be a no mom? How can we apply this to our family life and the framework of our home?
I’m a no mom and here is why:
1. God’s Word is full of no’s. I know that isn’t very popular either. But it is true. The word no in God’s Word will set the spiritual framework for their lives. Learning to heed God’s Word will train them in the way they should go and it will keep them safe. It will guide them and lead them. Obeying God when He tells us no is an intricate part of learning to live for God. From what we watch to what we do to what we say and how we think… God’s Word tells us no over and over again. Our kids need to know that God the Father tells us no because of His great love for us. He tells us no because He knows what is best for us. He tells us no because He is holy. He tells us no. often. The yes’s are mixed in for sure… but when God says no, we need to listen. And our kids need to learn that from day 1.
2. Learning to hear no will change the focus from self to others. I can’t stress this more. When we tell our kids yes for their every little whim, we teach them to focus on themselves. on what they want. on what they feel. on what they see right in that moment. When they hear yes to their every idea and their every wish, we give them the disservice of selfishness and not selflessness. Telling them no and giving them the reasons why reminds them that this moment is bigger than themselves. By teaching them to focus on others, we give them the gift of looking up, looking around, factoring the best of the people around them and making good, solid, healthy decisions based on truth.
3. Life is not about them. Partner this with number 2. Life is NOT about them. The world does NOT revolve around them. And when kids are told yes repeatedly, the effects shine brightly when they are with other people. When told yes repeatedly, kids can’t see anything but what they want, when they want it and how they want it. Our kids need to learn the give and take of life. They need to understand the complications in relationships of just wanting and getting their way of doing things. They need to learn flexibility and understanding and compromising and friendship. Being told no and teaching kids how to react when told no will go a long way in preparing them for life in the real world.
4. Being told no teaches kids to be thankful for what they have. And thankfulness is something greatly missing in our world. Thankfulness teaches joy in the little things, joy in the moment, joy in the experience without having an agenda of their wants, needs, desires, wishes and lists. Telling our kids no helps them be thankful for the big things and let the little things go.
5. Telling our kids no changes their expectations. When kids learn to expect a yes, they begin to run their own days. They very quickly rule the home. Instead, we need to help our kids change their expectations and remember that they are a piece of the puzzle… not the whole thing. One day when they are in the workplace dealing with a boss or working out differences in their marriage, they will thank you.
6. Hearing and respecting the word no will teach kids about healthy authority. God has placed leaders in their lives to set boundaries, uphold God’s standard and build a strong framework for the Biblical foundation they need in life. Mom and Dad most generally know what is best. The Holy Spirit guides parents to help our kids through different situations and often, saying yes, is not the right way to help our kids learn what God is teaching them.
7. Waiting builds character. Good character. Our kids need to learn to wait. Wait for a good deal on the toy they are saving for. Wait for a better time to play that game. Wait for their friend to play. Wait for mom to finish what she is doing. Wait for the adults to be ready. Wait. Wait for the group. Wait a better day to play in the rain. Wait for the movie to come out on DVD. Wait until Mommy has the time to help them. And sometimes waiting means it won’t happen at all. Kids need to know how to handle disappointment and struggle and changes in plans. They need to know that just because something didn’t happen didn’t mean it was a bad day. They need to hear no, respect it and be able to control their emotions. They need to except situations with grace and patience. And telling them no, helping them learn, guiding them in their young years will bring great profits as they grow older.
8. Saying no in the little things is a good idea. Sometimes I do tell my girls no to something that I could easily say yes to. Why? Because it is in the simple training ground of our home that I can build on when we are handling the bigger decisions of life. I want them to know that when I say “No, you can’t play for 5 more minutes.” that they need to respect our family timeline for the day and not whine but simply obey. I want them to know that when I say, “No, you can’t play in the mud today.” that I’m not being mean but that we won’t have time for showers before we go to church that night. They need to be okay with respecting my reasons and my timeline and my hopes for the day over their own. When I say, “No, we aren’t pulling out the crafts right now.” or “No, you can’t go over there and play. You need to sit and wait while I finish talking.” I am teaching them much, much bigger life lessons that can not be taught by saying yes.
9. Parenting Ahead. This works well in the area of saying no. Tell them no ahead of time. Honestly. Sometimes it is at night before bed or on our way to an activity, we have a good conversation about what to expect for the day. Giving them the information they need to even tell themselves no. Give them the schedule as best you know it. Give them the timeline. Give them the goal for the outing or the day. Is it grocery shopping and errands? Then help them know ahead of time what you expect and what their boundaries are. They will get very good at telling themselves no, having patience, looking at the big picture and being thankful for whatever the day brings, even if it isn’t exactly what they wanted.
10. The world is big. Help your kids have a bigger world view. Let them see how kids around the world live. Give them a burden for others, for missions, for people, for real treasure built up in heaven. Help them open their eyes to truth. To really see people. Remind them that heavenly things are at play every day. Life is not just about cake. Life is not about things, but people. Life is about what God wants to do through them not what they want from life.
So say yes. Have fun days. Give your kids amazing memories.
But don’t forget the value of saying no. Of weaving no into the fabric of your family and your parenting.
Saying no is a valuable and important part of raising our kids.
Are you a no mom?