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The gift of NO

If you are a person who is naturally open-hearted and generous, no can be an unnatural stretch. If you are one of those who really longs to be liked, it's more than a stretch!

It may be tough to dish out a no because of the wake it can leave behind. We can see the hurt it inflicts...a wounded look, slumped disappointment, quivering protruding lower lip - is difficult to bear. Or the hurt aimed at us... "I don't like you's", insults and sometimes kicks or slaps of little ones. Or there is the emotional blackmail of older kids. Threats, screaming, slamming doors and punching holes in walls. That's a no we want to avoid-even when we shouldn't.

Our personal integrity requires the power of no. Giving in to a beloved, to a bully, to our own urges for another drink or an unnecessary purchase tears down our self-confidence. The ability to say no is an essential ingredient to our self-confidence. We feel like the Pillsbury Doughboy who allows others to push us to and fro. Yes carves little slices from you, while no is like a building block in your strength of character. Therein lies its power.

Here are five powerful questions to ask yourself BEFORE you answer a request of your time or resources:

  • What do I want?

  • Will I feel resentful if I say yes?

  • Is this in the best interest of my child in the long run?

  • Am I trying to avoid a conflict?

  • Am I trying to please?

Instead of seeing your no as though you are a mean or controlling parent, see it for the gift it really is. You might be thinking, "How is saying no a gift?" Actually there are two gifts. One gift is to your child. It is your way to protect your kids from what they cannot see, or provide something that they can't imagine. And the other is a gift to yourself.


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Parenting Practice

Practice asking yourself the 5 questions before you answer someone's request.

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Kathryn Kvols

Author, Lecturer, Parenting Coach

(352) 494-1581

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