Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Avoid saying NO by Allan Katz

Allan Katz [....] Parents often use the argument  -'  des pashts nishts ' with kids – it is not appropriate or our family does not do this type of thing. Generally, if parents show a passionate belief in what they say and offer explanations it might help, but sometimes the parents are forbidding something which is allowed according to the halacha – law ,but they hold by higher standards and the kid is not there with them.  And here Ha'rav Osher Weiss in an answer to a question from an  overseas  'anglo-saxon'  audience concerning certain  English literature for kids said -  sometimes saying NO has a worse impact than allowing a kid his request . It is not the message we teach - …..  , but the message kids learn is that their concerns are not taken seriously by us and ignored. This is the down side to the advice parents are given -  tell your kids NO a few times a day so they get used to hearing NO.

I prefer to avoid saying No . Saying No is essentially only one solution to a concern . Because the solution only addresses the parents concern we are using Plan A. – imposing Adult will.  I recommend 'Don’t stick your no’s in unnecessarily, try to say yes and don’t be rigid.'

I like the phrase - ' I am not saying No '

Of course this does not mean I am saying yes , it means ' I just want to hear your concerns , can you tell me more ?' Our purpose is to get a conversation going with the child mainly speaking and  we  listening. We need to gather information about the child's  concerns.

When our concerns are put on the table, we are in fact setting a limit, because our concerns will be addressed by the mutually satisfying solution.

Any solution must be mutually satisfactory addressing both concerns of the parent and child. Of course there will be times that a parent will insist on his way but the kid who has had his concerns taken seriously in the past is more likely to trust his parents when they insist on  their solution.

Try to talk things through and help your child connect with his true inner core so that the mutually satisfying solution is one that he feels is his own, meets his needs and an expression of who he is. The CPS - collaborative problem solving process Cp builds relationship , promotes life skills that will be needed when he goes out into the world and especially help with important relationships including marriage. The process also  supports his autonomy in a healthy way.


  1. Wow! That will really prepare them for the real world when they will hear the no from their wife/husband, boss, colleague, etc, etc. Don't you just love pop psychology?

  2. The comment is very broad. NO is WRONG. If the child asks to do something dangerous, do we say NO? Maybe we should scream? A child's education and development is molded by "YES" and "NO" from the parent, so just to denigrate "NO" is not proper molding. Of course, there are ways of saying "NO" that do include the child. "Why do you want to play with knives?"
    I think that playing with children establishes a relationship whereby a parent is fun and once that is done, saying no is not a problem. If a parent is all up there and the child is all down there, saying "no" in the best way won't really connect to the child.
    In my house my children and grandchildren know that I am a dog. I bark and chase them around the house. These days, I am not the same dog that I used to be, but at least, I try, and the grandchildren like it, especially when it is their turn to be the dog and chase me.

  3. No has become a problem. Although kids need boundaries, some fools have been pushing the no to no agenda so long that society became overly permissive. So now kids make the wrong choice instead of doing something bad. Now that society has become intrenched in permissiveness, therw is a ta'am tam di'issura in virtually everyone. This has made no hard for kids to handle.

  4. "the kid who has had his concerns taken seriously in the past is more likely to trust his parents when they insist on their solution"

    What to do when "more likely" isn't enough? Like when he has a BIG תאוה to something bad and he just doesn't care? Or when he's hanging out with the wrong crowd that make fun of everything and anything Secheldig?

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