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Just Say No
I really need to talk to you about something personal momma. Do you have some time to sit with me and let me tell you all about my parenting woes?? Can I tell you why I need you to jump on board with me and just say no to your kids?? Well if you are, let me begin here:
Having that Teacher
Do you remember as a child when each year you would eagerly await or maybe dread who your teacher was going to be for the next school year? There was always talk on the playground of the teachers you really wanted who were the “fun” ones and then there were the other teachers that the children would warn you about. You knew that teacher they were talking about because it was the teacher who didn’t do fun projects and every lesson or subject was always sitting at your desk… If you are a fan of the Arthur Books or television series you will remember Mr. Ratburn being the teacher that no kid actually wanted to be with!! Do you remember when your stomach would drop when your name was called into the class with the mean teacher??
I remember this like it was yesterday when we were lined up and I heard my name called. It was grade three and I had been placed in the “mean” teacher’s class and I was full of fear!! Needless to say I actually really loved my third grade teacher and she has a special place in my heart for how she made me feel. She wasn’t actually mean but strict. However, despite having clear boundaries with those kids that didn’t take school seriously she had an amazing heart that had a desire to encourage and uplift her students always. I have thought a lot about that teacher over the years of why she had been labelled as mean and I never really could figure it out. Until I became a teacher myself. One secret for being a teacher is to start off the year stricter than you actually want to be.
Set stricter limits then you actually want to have!!
Now you are probably wondering why on earth would you want to do that?! Wouldn’t you want to be a friend to your students first so that you win them over?? So that they like you and want to be obedient because they like you?? The answer, unfortunately, is no you don’t want to be your students’ friend because you can’t. With children you need to set clear limits and boundaries and be willing to follow through every time a child decides to test those limits. Once the children understand the rules, routines, and expectations you can gently loosen how strict you are with your limits and boundaries because you have already done the work of setting the stage of what expectations need to be followed and when grace can be given. It is harder to have a loose structure at the beginning of the year and then have to try to regain control because the children will take advantage of you!! This is when things are bound to spiral quickly out of control. And guess what momma?? This also applies to parenthood as well.
Childhood is fleeting but so is parenting and making a difference
Remember how I had talked about childhood being so fleeting?? And how that’s a dangerous thought because we allow our children sometimes to cross boundaries and limits that really they shouldn’t. It’s harder to do the work to fix the problem or bad habit that has developed rather than just having that clear expectation at the beginning. Believe me because this is what I am having to do in fixing my girls’ bad attitudes and expectations from being the always yes mom!!
Did I just hear you right?!
Things had gotten so bad in our home that when I asked the girls to clean up their mess after playing I would consistently receive the answer, “that’s not my job, you do it you’re the mom!!” And the embarrassing thing I used to sigh and clean it myself. Isn’t that slightly ridiculous?! But I would silently rationalize again that childhood is so fleeting… But in becoming the balanced yes no mom I realized that this was no longer acceptable. We have since then implemented cleaning every morning for about an hour. The girls vacuum, wipe walls, dust, tidy up toys, make beds, help load or unload the dishwasher and whatever else needs to be done. Because the answer in our home to disobedience and entitlement is hard work. I am no longer willing to raise children who are entitled just so they can have a say in how our home is run.
Why We need to parent God’s Way
So, I have reflected again on leaving behind the world’s way in parenting and turning to the Lord’s way because I really like the idea that my children still have some sway in choices that they make here at home. But I have learned there is a difference in always having a say and sometimes having a say. The girls can pick which chore they want to start off with. They can pick the clothes they wear. They can pick what toys or activities they do. But some things are just non-negotiable. What time they have to go to bed. If they hit they sit. If they make a mess they clean it up. If a bad choice is made there will be a consequence given because there has to be. The Lord gave us rules to keep us safe and protect us, not to hurt us. This is just the same with children you have to set those limits because they need them so desperately!!
Really, Just Say No!
I really want to encourage you momma to have faith and be brave. It sometimes is so hard and heartbreaking to have to say no or put our foot down but you know what?? Your kids actually love you more for it because they feel safe and realize that they don’t have control in a way that can hurt them. If you met my girls you would love them because lets face it they are cute (not like I am biased or anything) but you will also quickly come to find that they are all very strong willed and have a definite idea of how things should go. With that being said as I have said no, I have had less temper tantrums, less talk back and less disrespect from my girls. To be honest, the consequences of crossing over that line of no you can’t do that has been met with respect and an “okay mom”. There were no tears. No fights or talkback or trying to get their own way. And to be honest it was really nice. And when I had two minutes to sit down and just breathe I heard a quiet voice in my mind whisper, “you’re going to miss this” and I will. Because those little feet don’t stay small. And they grow taller and taller each day. But I don’t want to resent my girls in the process of growing together as a family. I used to sit at the end of the day exhausted. I had no energy no desire to do anything except curl in a ball and sleep. I was tired of always being in argument mode. So when it comes down to it I no longer regret saying yes to let my children step over the line because I am proud of the little women they are finally becoming. And that’s why when it comes down to it, that we do need to be the no mom.
Because oh puh-lease!! You’ve got this momma!!