I can say that little sentence in my sleep. In fact I probably do. And WHY? Because I am a mother, and that is what mothers say!
Naturally when I say no, my children calmly accept this and go about their business.
I WISH! Like you, I say “No” and I am met with arguments and pleading. Yet I persist.
I was sitting in the shopping centre the other day when a young woman with a toddler came up to the coin-operated ride beside me. The little boy got into the ride and asked his mother for 'a money'. She said no. “Sensible woman”, I thought. The little boy, undeterred, asked again and reached for his mother’s purse. She said no.
I was very impressed.
Then the woman did something I will never understand. She opened her purse, took out 'a money' and put it in the machine.
I have nothing against coin-operated rides. I have sacrificed many a 'money' to that particular form of childish fun. If the young mother had said from the beginning, “Yes Timmy, here is a coin for you”, no doubt I would have come away thinking what a loving and generous mother the young woman was.
Instead I came away shaking my head.
That little boy now knows that “No!” means “Yes!”. His mother taught him. The next time she says no, what will he think? How old will he be before he figures out that “No!” doesn’t mean “Pester me some more!”
So am I saying you cannot change your mind? No, of course not! I change my mind all the time, (I am a woman after all). But may I suggest that if you change your mind about something, explain your reasoning to the child.
Don’t just say,”Oh, OK, here you go.” Tell them, “Yes you can. I just remembered how helpful you were this morning.”
It may not seem like much. Sometimes it is just easier to give in and let them have what they want. But never forget. Never, ever, ever forget. The toddler who you reason with at three is the teenager you will be reasoning with at thirteen. So for their sake, and for your own, be firm. And trust me, you won’t regret it.
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