The struggle is real.
While I am admittedly proud of my children’s “smart mouth,” I often find myself thinking: “I’m glad you know how to say ‘no,’ but could you please stop yelling it at me?”
It is a fine line us parents must ride between encouraging our children to find, define, and use their voice, and them blatantly and confidently declaring that they merely refuse to do what they are being asked.
I’m all for raising ‘smart mouth’ children so long as they adhere to the following:
- Focusing on spreading kindness with their words — not hate or negativity.
- Never staying silent about things that matter.
- Recognizing that they always have permission to use their voice.
- Knowing that their voice can motivate themselves, as well as others.
- Sharing their words in a respectful and humble way.
- Always speaking the truth.
- Raising their words, but not their voice.
- Being mindful of remembering to think before they speak.
- Believing that their opinion holds no more weight than another person’s.
- Being aware that the best opinions are those that are formulated on facts, logic, sound reasoning, and intelligence.
- Never allowing themselves to be silenced by someone else’s voice.
In our world that is now #metoo, and sadly also one in which young boys are being told not to cry because it’s not “manly,” those practicing healthy parenting are more than anything encouraging their children to be vocal about all things that affect them, and rightfully so.
But, there’s got to be a balance, right?
A balance between a child that is telling you ‘no’ because they simply don’t want to do something and one who is telling you ‘no’ out of fear, or perceived (or actual) lack of capability.
A balance between a child that is telling you ‘no’ because they are merely defiant and bratty and one who is telling you ‘no’ because they have formulated a well-thought-out opinion that differs from yours.
A balance between a child that is telling you ‘no’ because they desire to exude an appearance of power over you and one who is telling you ‘no’ because they genuinely believe they are powerful and understand when, where, how, and why their power should be exerted.
Every day my children tell me ‘no,’ and their no’s are most definitely not always delivered with benevolence or backed by an insightful thought process.
And as a result, every day I am challenged with how to handle the straightforward, two-letter word spewed in my direction from all three of my children.
I guess what I have concluded is that the balance mainly resides less in their use of the word and more in how I respond to it.
I would rather have children who overuse the word “no” and feel uber-comfortable with saying it, than children who don’t know how to deliver a negation.
I have to end this post here because my daughter just told me “no” when I asked her if Mommy could finish her work.
That there, that is how my youngest teaches me all about b-a-l-a-n-c-e.