Monday, November 14, 2011

It's Ok to Say No

We do our best to limit junkfood and candy in our house. It isn't restricted but it's also not unlimited. None of us drink pop on a regular basis. I am the only one who will have a coke to top off a good and hearty cholesterol filled junkfood meal like pizza or fastfood. If I go halfway, I may as well go the distance.

One thing we have told our kids is that when they are at a party or at a friends house, they will be offered some things that we don't prefer them to have at home. They don't have to say no unless it is something we feel very strongly about like caffeinated pop (later alcohol). I don't hold it against anyone else if they let their kids drink soda. I feel that they will  spend a majority of their lives drinking caffeine and sugar drinks so why start this early.

We told them that if they say no to any of those types of items, we would do something nice for them whether it is go to the dollar store or take them somewhere special if they tell us that they refused to have those things. We have also told them that they can make us the bad guys if a situation becomes uncomfortable for them to say no.

My kids have actually demonstrated the ability to say no. My son has come home from kid parties on multiple occasions (7 and 8 years old)  and said that he had water instead of pop. He refused it even though all of his friends had some. We ask if he felt bad and he said no. It wasn't a big deal. He just said that he doesn't drink pop. We were very proud of him. We rewarded him with a trip to the dollar store.

On the flip side...

We are realizing that teaching them how to say no to these things at an early age is teaching them how to say no to other things later. If they are offered beer or drugs at a party, there is a strong possibility that they will say no if they feels it is not right to do. We are trying to empower them at an early age. All we can do is give them the tools to say no.

Obvously, it isn't a guarantee. We can only teach them what we can and hope it sinks in.

The most important key is being present and loving them more than anyone else can so they know home and family is the safest place for them to be themselves.

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