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Welcome Educators! This blog is for you, the Educators. Please ask questions, share ideas and post testimonials about your program, what you're doing in your town and what is working for you. The more we share, the more successful we all will be. Happy Educating!

Monica Irvine
President, The Etiquette Factory

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Big "No" Word

This is an example of a lesson I do for parents:

Go with me for a moment to the land of “make believe” and just imagine this situation: Your child comes into the kitchen and excitedly says, “Hey Mom. David just called and asked if I could go to the Zoo with him tomorrow. He said they have an extra ticket, so can I go?” You reply, “I’m sorry honey, you’ve got a dentist appointment tomorrow that we really need to keep, so you’ll have to decline his offer this time.” Your child replies, “Oh well, I understand Mom. Thanks for thinking about it.” Your child then turns and goes to call David to inform him he can’t go. Can you imagine this situation ever occurring within the walls of your home? Is it possible for us to teach our children how to accept the word, “No” graciously? Am I from Mars?

Well, just so you know, yes we can teach our children how to accept the word, “No” with grace. You have to admit, none of us like to hear the word, “No”. Frankly, I hate that word. However, we have all learned over time that sometimes “No” is a good thing and many times it is necessary. So how do we teach our children how to handle this? We start by forming a trusting, loving, secure relationship with our children. Often times, we as parents are in such a hurry or maybe even irritated at our children, that we don’t take the time to explain why we use the word, “No”. Teaching moments are best accomplished when emotions are not tied up in the moment. For instance, trying to teach our child why we say, “No” at the very moment we just said, “No” to something they really wanted to do, is not the proper time to teach. Our child wouldn’t be prepared to listen because they would be too preoccupied that we just ruined their life. A better time would be when we’re “tucking” them in at night or maybe when we’re taking a walk through the neighborhood. Let me give you an example that might help us begin this ongoing conversation with our children:

“Honey, do you know how much I love to watch you have fun? Well, I love it. One of the greatest things about being your parent is watching you enjoy life and getting to do things that bring you happiness. Sometimes, I know you’re disappointed when I say, “No” to you. I hope you know that when I use the word, “No”, I always have a reason. As your parent; I have the responsibility of keeping you safe, keeping you healthy and helping you to gain wisdom, so you can have a happy productive life. That means that sometimes I have to say, “No” in order to fulfill my responsibility as your parent. I need you to respect the responsibility that I have for you, by learning how to accept the word, “No” graciously. This means that you will accept my decisions without whining, crying, pouting, asking more than once or any other impolite response. I know it’s difficult to hear the word, “No”. It’s difficult for me to hear it as well. I’m so proud of the way you are trying to become more responsible. Thank you for listening to me and for your willingness to “work on” this skill.”

Obviously, you might have to adjust the previous example depending on the age of your children. But, I assure you that talking to our children with respect for them; will in return teach them to show us the same respect. No one likes to be demanded, and I think children get so exhausted being “demanded” all day long. I’m not saying don’t stand firm in our convictions with regards to our children or our family rules; but talking to our children with love and concern evident, increases the love and devotion our children have for us. This can’t happen just once, but needs to be an ongoing conversation. Enjoy and love your children. May we succeed in this sacred responsibility.

Have a great month,
Monica Irvine
CEO/The Etiquette Factory

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