Monday, January 5, 2015

Just Say No



I probably say it a thousand times a day and honestly, it feels good to say it.

"Daddy, can I have a popsicle for lunch?" asks my daughter.
"No. A popsicle is not lunch. Eat your lunch and then we can talk popsicles."  I say.

"Daddy, can I play on the iPad?" asks my son.
"No. You already had your screen time today.  Did you pick up your room?" I say.

 "Daddy, can I...." ask my children... "No." I say.

When shopping with my children, I avoid the toy aisle like a the plague because I know even getting near it will result in a barrage of No's that will crescendo into a giant NO that makes people's heads turn.  This kind of trip has me grabbing the items I need frantically only to be faced with the tempting last ditch effort by marketing gurus at the checkout counter to buy their toys - like a consolation prize to your children for surviving the trip to the store.  Where's my consolation prize?  It my shred of dignity because I was strong enough to face my children's momentary disappointment by saying "No."?

I am not alone with my frequent use of "No."

"Daughter, will you eat these peas?" I ask.  "No." she says. "Can you just try one pea?" I ask.  "No." she says.

"Do you have to go pee?" I ask.  "No." she says.  "You must try to pee before we leave." I say."NO, NO, NO!" she screams.

(10 minutes later she is using the portable potty in the back of my minivan on the side of the road.)

Many kids learn "No" before any other word. Why? Because it is so easy to say!  Yet for some reason, many parents have such a hard time saying it because they feel like saying it is hurting their children. For instance take the parents who pamper their children at day spas.

Adult spas are cashing in on your inability to say No to your children. One woman from this article, Ms. Ehresman, who paid $400 for spa treatments for two 8 year old girls, was quoted saying “I don’t want them to feel that my saying ‘no’ means that I don’t love them,” 

Why in the world does a child need to go to a spa to get a massage and facial? Tough day on the playground? Was preschool that arduous?  Saying "No" doesn't mean you don't love your children.

Saying "No" means that you do love them. It means that you love them enough to set limitations on what is appropriate for them and helping to demonstrate the difference between needs and wants. This parent is setting a precedent for the future. At some point, she will have to say "No." or it will get our of control. What sort of young adults will these children become when massages and facials are the expectation they have at the age of three?

You can still pamper your children without giving into their demands to show them that this is the way they are loved.  I am not against showing your children that you love them by doing something special. However, you can teach them that being feminine doesn't have to be rooted in activities that are just plain inappropriate for their age.

My wife regularly pampers our daughters without taking them to a spa. She creates moments where they can bond and be pampered by their own loving mother. They take baths and showers, get into tiny robes, paint their nails together and do their hair and watch a musical. It's a bonding event that won't cost you a cent.  Even dads can create this experience by letting their daughters paint their nails and brush their hair.

Pampering children at a spa this early in life is setting a dangerous expectation which is based solely on their outward appearance. Let's give these girls something to look forward to when they are older and stop ushering them into adulthood before their childhood has even begun to wane.

Our kids are growing up too fast. We want them to slow down and stay children while we scoot them into experiences and roles that they just aren't ready for. There is a time and place for pampering when it comes to our children. Some parents just need to be stronger when it comes to the choice between Yes and No.

There are just certain things my children don't need to have or experience. Distinguishing the difference between needs and wants will help you make better decisions when your children ask you for something. Spoil your kids with your love and attention, not spa packages that build on a narcissistic attitude. Learn to say "No" because you love them, not because you fear they won't love you because you say it.


Would you take your child to a spa to get this full treatment or would you say no? Join the discussion on my Facebook page.


9 comments:

  1. Amen, drives me nuts seeing that kind of behavior. What good is it going to serve them when they get older?

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  2. This father has it right and says it right!

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  3. I think you are right on in this article. Parents need to say no sometimes. Often, it is the best thing for the child,

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  4. "NO!" is definitely a two-way street! LOL!

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  5. I agree, it's crazy. Kids now days have so much more than we did growing up. They don't hear the word no enough, and they feel entitled to things that didn't even exist when we were kids. Out of control.

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  6. I have no problem saying no, I probably say it way too much. What I have the hardest time saying is YES, and sometimes kids need to hear that. Just not for a trip to the spa.

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  7. My son asks for the strangest things so I'm getting good at no. I try to mix it up, use different language sometimes and do my best not to do it on a loud voice. Don't always succeed on that count though.

    If I didn't say no my boy would have diabetes (he ALWAYS wants a caramel chocolate). If I didn't say no we'd be buried in remote controlled toys (everything has to have a remote control). If I didn't say no we'd basically live at an indoor playground.

    I'm glad a say no....

    And day spas? For 3 year olds? What?

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  8. Say no. It's your responsibility as a parent. The fits it may cause is a lesson in life teaching how to control our own behaviour. No is teaching them how to follow rules even when they do not want to. No is showing them the love that they deserve by not being the popular parent. You love enough to say no because that is what is best.

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  9. Say no. It's your responsibility as a parent. The fits it may cause is a lesson in life teaching how to control our own behaviour. No is teaching them how to follow rules even when they do not want to. No is showing them the love that they deserve by not being the popular parent. You love enough to say no because that is what is best.

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