Wednesday, March 05, 2014
We should tell our kids NO... from time to time.
I randomly & intentionally tell my children no for the sake of having them understand that not everything can, is, will be or should be... yes. It's an intentional method of dispersing low level amplitudes of adversity to see how they handle it in a supported learning environment. Oddly enough, this practice has now led to meaningful conversations on why I've said no to a particular request. *In citing no examples, I'm not simply referencing the outlandish requests for far reaching things or privileges, I'm talking about simple things that some may question - why did you just say no to that?
My rational is that our kids have to much and they have that too much to easy & too often. In fact, too often is so often that privileges have become misconstrued as rights. By 'our kids', I refer to every parent residing in the same socioeconomic demographic... and upwards who placate their kids with internal and external rewards and opportunities for the sheer sake of wanting to have them feel good or because we didn't have that when we were growing up. This is a slippery slope.
I see many teenaged kids in our demographic who do not & have not had jobs. By 14, it's my belief we should all have experienced work in some capacity. This doesn't read 9-5 Mon to Fri slave labor, however it needs to be a concerted effort that includes thinking about what job may be a part time interest, preparing for an interview, getting oneself to and from work as well as putting in the effort, collecting the monies right through to making the bank deposits. My thinking is the sooner we can empower our future leaders on their responsibility to financial literacy, the better understanding they will have that financial success is not someone elses responsibility to & for them. Further, I don't actually want my children living with me full time after they are 18. To me, that represents a job NOT well done by me.
I see the examples & ramifications through employing hundreds in the 20 something workforce who have not experienced much 'no' amplitude throughout their lives. Examples ranging from 60 days on the job followed by the request to travel for a month, the answer no, followed by a tantrum & resignation. Or the request for a raise based on the fact they have shown up and done their jobs, the answer no, followed by drama. If these young adults had been taught 'no', with the accompanying rationale, they would understand 'no.. they don't need the newest I phone, new truck, condo or trappings'. They would also be able to effectively say no to other things & people vs having to call on others to bail them out all the time.
Saying no isn't easy however there is value in learning how & when to say it, especially with your kids. If nothing else it can foster a solid understanding that the real world is not boundary-less-yes.