Lesson 13 - Never Say NO!

Be The Dad You Wish You Had - Ryan Roy

The video below is NOT a word for word reading of the book. It is the author giving a different perspective on the text to help YOU get a deeper understanding of the material

Never Say NO – it will be the first word they learn if you use it.

Many times, the first word or one of the first words children are comfortable saying is “No”. This is because it is the word they hear most often. Encourage your children by creating scenarios that challenge their critical thinking skills.

Say yes to everything. The example I am going to give is for any child two years of age and older. I just did an interview with Dr. Keith Jowers. He mentioned on his website that I “Say Yes to Everything”. He posed this question to me. “Too often parents are saying yes and there aren’t enough no’s being told to children. Do you agree with this?”

He then rephrased the question: “Do you believe that kids today need to be told NO more often? “

My response was that I say yes to everything that my child asks for. I do not say no. I give him options and allow him to choose based on those options. By giving him options, that allows him to say yes while at the same time saying no to the other option. This takes some critical thinking on my part, but it also allows for him to develop his critical thinking.
I gave Dr. Jowers this example: My son and I were at Target the other day and he asked for a toy. I said, “Yes, you can have the toy.” But I gave him two options.

Option 1: YES! You can put it on your Christmas list for Santa Claus (as it was mid-October).

Option 2: YES! You can remind daddy in two weeks and we can pick it up then.

Did I say no? No. I gave him options. All children want a lot of toys; they are always going to ask. Why should I continually tell him no? In life, if we hear ‘No’ enough times we stop asking for things. When we stop asking for things we stop getting the results we desire. I do not want to impede his growth and thirst for knowledge by continually shutting him down. So instead, I choose to give him choices.

How does the scenario play out? If that particular toy is important enough for him he will put it on his Christmas list. We will continually revise the Christmas list until it’s time for it to be delivered to Santa. If it makes it to the final list for Santa Claus, he will get that toy.

If he chooses the other option, which is to come back in two weeks, he has to remind me of that specific toy. If he really wants it, he will remember. If he reminds me, which tells me it is important enough to him, then I will get the toy. This avoids impulse buys and it also lets him know that he can have anything he wants, if he is willing to sacrifice time.

I never told him no. He has discovered that he needs to write it down on his Christmas list or remember what is important to him. Taking those actions then rewards him. He is not rewarded for just asking.

Ninety percent of the time he doesn’t remember. Why? Because he’s five years old and he asks for everything. He does not really want those things he just desires them in the moment. However, those things that are extremely important, the other ten percent, he is rewarded with. My wife and I make sure he gets those things because they are important and he reminds us. This strategy nullifies ninety percent of the No’s.

It can be tiresome on a parent to continually say no. It’s challenging for a child to critically think every time they ask for something. Get them thinking.

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