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Barack Levin

Author: Barack Levin

No Means “No”

Posted by Barack Levin on February 28th, 2011

In our house there is one very basic simple rule. When we, the parents, say, No to our kids, it means no. It does not matter if they cry, yell, scream, throw a tantrum, kick, shout or go to their room upset, they already know that we will always stick to our rule.

However, now, that they are grown up, we have introduced one exception to the rule. We know that sometimes we say no to something and we might be wrong and we do want to give our kids the ability to prove our wrong and so we have introduced a kind of a No by pass for them. If we tell them No and they feel that we are mistaken they have the right to convince us otherwise. They have to talk and explain why we are wrong and if we decide that they are actually correct, we will reverse that decision. In case we think that we are still correct, the decision stands.

I write this post because I see many other parents where their authority erodes and one of the major reasons for this erosion is that their kids completely ignore their authority. Here is an example. We went to some friends yesterday for dinner. Their little son, who is about 3.5 years old, hasn’t had his dinner yet but he saw the cookies we brought and took one. As he finished it he took another one. His parents said nothing. When he came for his third, the mom said “2 is enough. Do not take another one”. He looked at her as if she was completely transparent, he extended his hand, while still looking at her, and took the third one. She said “I said No”. He completely ignored her and started chewing on the cookie. “Ok” she said “This is your last one”. Guess what? When he finished that third cookie he grabbed another one. That was his dinner.

When a parent can not enforce the very basic rules in his own house why would a kid listen to him? And then the parents are surprised when their kids are not doing well in school or behave irrationally.

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