Tag Archives: parenting

The Plight Of The All-Noing Parent

No. Nope. Negative. Nuh uh. Not gonna happen. Absolutely not. O, let me count the ways I tell my kids they can’t have or do something. In short, I say “no” A LOT.

I’ve heard a good amount of conflicting information about the impact of saying “no” to children. Now, I don’t think anyone would argue the need to stop a child from stepping into the street or touching a hot pan on the stove. There’s a good deal of discourse, though, about the right and wrong ways to respond when our children ask for (or demand) time, attention, or toys, or are behaving in a way that needs to be stopped.

While one expert expounds on the necessity of parents asserting authority and reinforcing firm boundaries, another warns of the devastatingly negative impact to a child’s self-esteem of denying kids their thoughts, opinions, and desires. As with many other philosophies in the parenting world, I feel like we are set up to feel guilty no matter where we stand on the issue.

Just in my circle of family and friends, I see divergent beliefs. Some parents work very hard to avoid saying “no” to their children. These parents aren’t pushovers, but they believe there is something inherently damaging about the word. They distract their toddler when they see the telltale gleam in her eye when staring at the dog’s food or when she’s demanding chips for dinner. They are quick to praise good deeds as a way to elicit only good behavior. And, they ask their kids why they want to do or have whatever it is they are asking for in order to understand the child’s point of view. The child eventually tires of the conversation and moves on to something else.

I also know parents who seem afraid to say no to their kids. They worry their children won’t love them if they are constantly denying them, stating life is too short not to experience simple and inconsequential joys. These parents are usually the same ones who appease their children in order to avoid anything “ugly” in front of other people. As long as the kids get what they want, there is no crying, whining time outs, etc.

Still others feel like “no” is almost an automatic response no matter the question. My husband and I fall into this category. We know we should be in charge and entered parenthood prepared for that authoritative job. We even knew our precious offspring would try to manipulate us – that’s what kids do – and we were poised and ready for the challenge. What we weren’t prepared for was all the gray area, blurred lines, and being so very tired! Lately we’ve been wondering whether our “nos” are always necessary or whether we sometimes take the easy way out instead of doing our kids justice by thinking critically about each situation.

I am not a parenting expert; I’m simply a parent trying to do right by my kids and stay sane in the process. I believe in positive reinforcement and parenting from a place of love and acceptance. I also think saying “no” is absolutely necessary. I believe this is the first step to teaching my children how to say “no” to themselves and others when something isn’t right – socially, morally, or legally. Down the road, when they are faced with life’s temptations, I want them to be able to use their own “no.” I try to remember that today’s second cookie quickly and easily turns into tomorrow’s far riskier choice. Continue reading The Plight Of The All-Noing Parent

The Girlfriend’s Guide To The Ultimate Staycation

When I was pregnant with my first child, I received several pregnancy and childbirth books from friends and loved ones. My favorite was The Girlfriend’s Guide to Pregnancy because, unlike the better-known What to Expect When You’re Expecting, the Girlfriend’s Guide provided me answers to my REAL questions – the ones I’d be too embarrassed to ask anyone but a trusted girlfriend who’d tell it to me straight. The author abandons the “this is the way it’s supposed to be” advice in lieu of a humorous account of what no one ever told her about the adventure of pregnancy.

Lest you think I mistitled this article, the explanation of my preferred literature is merely a frame of reference for the information to come. I recently took an extended period of time off work in order to spend quality time with my family. I rarely take more than a couple of days at Christmas because I want to save what little vacation time I have accrued for, well, vacation. However, this year I threw caution to the wind and took the lion’s share of time I had in the bank as a way to repay my family for the last several months of work stress and long hours away from them.

As I prepared for my first-ever staycation, I anticipated the time off like it was an exciting, new project. I asked friends for guidance on kid-friendly activities to fill our days. I made a list of chores I wanted to get done around the house. I fantasized about the memories we would make during our extended time together.

Now that I am back to work (sigh), I am reflecting on my expectations versus the reality of the experience. I hope I can speak for my family by saying we had a wonderful time. I would be remiss, however, if I didn’t provide a somewhat more frank take on this family-bonding adventure. Much like what I appreciated in The Girlfriend’s Guide to Pregnancy, I hope you will appreciate the between-you-and-me nuggets about what this working mom learned from staying home for 12 straight days.

Lesson #1: I did not accomplish 90% of the household projects on my list. I went into my time off with visions of reorganizing drawers and cabinets, finishing craft projects, sorting through clothes in the kids’ closets, putting pictures in albums, and cleaning my house from top to bottom. We DID make several trips to Goodwill and I printed, labeled and filed about 500 pictures. While most of my list remains undone, I now have photographic evidence that we have children in the house who are out of diapers. As a frame of reference, they are now 7 and 4.    Continue reading The Girlfriend’s Guide To The Ultimate Staycation

A Weekly Dose of Life Lessons for Dads of Daughters

excerpted from

by Michael Mitchell

105. Let her steal your nose from time to time. I promise she’ll give it back eventually.

(photo: guzi4real)

104. Staring contests are a great way to pass the time. Making faces at her will give you the advantage in more ways than one.

(photo: unknown)

Continue reading A Weekly Dose of Life Lessons for Dads of Daughters