How Easily Do You Say "No" to Your Kids?
By Jen Taylor - Mocha on October 11, 2012
It’s funny how you never quite know what kind of parent you will be until you are right in the thick of it. I am in the thick of it, and it is no secret what kind of mama I am.
I adore my kids, I will fawn over them, I will tell them a thousand times how wonderful they are, but just as many times they will hear from me: “I love you. No.”
I love you. NO.
This has become one of those affectionate, but serious jokes between my children and I. They will be four and eight this fall and have heard more than their fair share of it. But we have years to go, and never will I hesitate in my answer. They have heard it often enough, and are old enough that I have actually told them why I say it. That while I love them like crazy, I always want the best for them. And sometimes, I want to protect them or guide them somewhere they may not want to go. Or I feel that with a home filled to the rafters with love and “stuff,” they don’t always need to pine after things they don’t have.
And because I love them, I don’t feel guilty saying “no” when I think it is the appropriate answer.
If I don’t say it, who will?
Yesterday, I caught a tweet from the lovely Susan Campbell Cross, who was taking part in a conversation amongst the Social Media Girlfriends. (You can find them on Twitter by searching the hashtag #SMGirlfriends.)
“@SusanCross1: Your kids have a lot of friends, but only ONE mother. Do your job. You're not there to be their buddy. #SmGirlfriends”
I shared it with a +1 at the time, but it immediately got me thinking about my own take on motherhood. It is an enormous emotional undertaking to raise a child, or children, and to be able to draw lines and set boundaries as they grow. Well, let’s say it’s no easy task. When they are young, we teach manners and basic skills, set expectations and help our kids grow into the adults they will become. As they develop and grow into themselves, they become more independent, more opinionated and yet we must still be nearby with ready boundaries. For every exploration we encourage, every risk taken, every act of bravery, there are actions and undertakings we cannot encourage or allow. If anyone gets through the “terrible twos” and thinks they are through the hard part, they are sorely mistaken.