Jan 1, 2011

No is an acceptable answer

Most of us have asked a question and expected to hear the answer "Yes" when we asked.  Why else would we ask if we already knew the answer was going to be no?  As an adult, I still don't like the answer no, but have grown accustomed to hearing it.  I still feel like telling the person why I deserve a yes answer instead of a no, but I need to grow up. 

Children seem to think that when an adult tells them no, they can change their parent's answer.  Let me give you an example.  A two year old is shopping with his mother.  The adorable guy looks up at his mother with the big brown eyes and asks, "Me wants a ball".  The son's idea gets shot down, which ruins his dream for huge blue ball, bigger than the child.  Next thing the mother knows, he is crying, screaming, kicking and his adorable brown eyes appear for a second to have turned red.  Everyone in the next 10 aisles just wants you to give this boy a huge blue ball.  What do you do?  Do you rescind and get the ball, or do you teach the child no is an acceptable answer?  If the parent gives in, the child will continue to throw huge temper tantrums to get what he/she wants.  It doesn't help when bystanders think the parent is awful because the parent won't give in.  How do we know the child doesn't already have 2 huge balls at home?

I use to tell my son "If I said yes, you wouldn't be acting this way."  He would pout a bit longer but wouldn't ask again.  The great thing is that children usually stop throwing huge temper tantrums that the whole store hears before they are too heavy for us to carry out of the store.  The last time I really wanted a car, I didn't want to speak to my husband until I got the nice, shiny, red, used car keys.  His logic was sound thought.  We didn't have enough money for a new car.  I knew that, but I still wanted the car.  Too bad we need money to fulfill some of our dreams.

Why is it when we ask a question, do we not want to accept the answer no.  I was raised with 5 brothers and sisters.  I can remember not wanting to share, and if I didn't want to share, I didn't get anything.  I wasn't raised as a child who got everything I wanted.  My needs were filled, I was loved, and some things I didn't need.  I understand that now as a parent.  I understand my husband can't get everything he wants.  But why, when I want something, do I always expect the answer to be yes?

As adults, and some of us are parents, we need to learn how to say no and explain that it is an acceptable answer.  Life isn't all about getting what we want.  I do think if someone asks why, they should be given an honest answer to explain.  I have been guilty of saying "Because I said so!" What kind of answer is that?  It is an easy one, but it doesn't give my son the answer he needs.  When he wants something he doesn't need, I have always let him know that I love him, but he doesn't get everything he wants.  It is a tough lesson, but it is better to learn it from someone he loves than expecting a yes everytime he asks a question.

Next time you want something and ask for it, think ahead about how you will act if the answer is no.  Try to act like it is an acceptable answer.  Don't punish the person for saying no if there is a good reason for it.

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