Raising Our Children in a "Yes" Society by Meg Putnam

When did it become socially unacceptable to tell our children NO? When did society grant our children the right to be provided with all the answers? When did it become so wrong to make our children own their behaviors?

While dining with a few mothers and friends this past week, this topic came up more than once with all different groups of mothers with children of all ages. Our topics of conversation went from when to say no, to how to say no, to making no mean NO! We are all guilty at times of displaying a lack of follow through, and this is one of the largest parenting mistakes we make. On a positive level, this also holds true for things we offer to our children but don't provide.

From a young age, our children learn to manipulate us. When they are born, they cry for us to get what they need or want.  As they grow into toddlers, we provide them with a multitude of things to create a YES environment. We change our homes, our personal lives, our friends, our town, our foods, our schedules - EVERYTHING. We run ragged at times to stop the tears, the night-time wake ups and the fights in the store. For what?

So our children will allow us the time to get through the next chain of events, so we can hear our own thoughts? What good is any of this doing? Personally, I have witnessed many children being raised, so when my friend asked me to blog about this, I took the challenge.

She openly confessed that by allowing her oldest daughter a YES environment all her life, she is now wondering how to take the "power" back? Teens and tweens, more and more, are growing up with this air of righteousness about them.  They appear as though we, as parents, owe them something, or better yet - EVERYTHING.

When did it become socially acceptable for our children to run our lives? When did it become socially acceptable for our children to tell us NO? When did it become socially acceptable for our children to refuse our parental instructions?  When did it become the parents responsibility to make sure our teens have all their homework done? When did it become our job as parents to make sure our teens have all their gear ready for practice the next day? Aside from the verbal reminding and coaching, when did we start doing it all and making it all happen for our children's growing young minds?  Is this the aftermath of raising a child in a YES society? Has the damage been done? Can we change the thought patterns of an adolescent who is already molded to what feels normal and natural? Can we change the damage done and take back our seat as PARENT?

Are we breeding laziness, forgetfulness and disrespect? If we don't allow young people to experience consequences, how will they really ever learn? If we don't allow our children to be benched when they forget their mouth guard, how will they learn to be prepared? If we allow our children to go to a sleep over when they didn't clean their rooms, how will they learn responsibility? If we don't provide our children with boundaries, how will we, as parents, ever be able to know we have truly prepared them to some day live in the real world?

As seen on a poster in a classroom:

"You are entitled to food, clothing, shelter, and medical attention - anything else you receive is a privilege."

This post was originally published on Runitlikeamom.com

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Sheila April 11, 2014 at 08:21 AM
First of all, a newborn is not "manipulating" anyone when he/she cries - the baby is communicating the only way it knows how that something is wrong, that it NEEDS something. Whether that's food, a diaper change, a nap or simply attention. Yes, attention/interaction is a NEED at that age. Second, I don't know if it' socially acceptable or not to micromanage your kids' lives and never allow them to take responsibility for their actions. Yes, you need to guide them to the point where they can make good decisions, but by 4th or 5th grade, it should be their responsibility to do their homework, remember their musical instrument or sports equipment, etc. A child who has forgotten something and suffered the consequences at 10 will be less forgetful and more responsible as a teen. It's definitely going to be a lot harder to start (especially with a teen) if you've been catering to your children (what used to be called "spoiling") all their lives but I believe it can be done. A lot easier to teach them from the time they are toddlers that adults must be respected, we DO know more than they do (though teens of every generation have struggled with this!) and what mom or dad says goes (and no playing one off the other)!
Sheila April 11, 2014 at 08:26 AM
I just noticed that quote and think that's a horrible thing to say! Children are also entitled to education, discipline (not punishment, discipline is a form of education) and unconditional love. Farm animals are entitled to food, shelter and medical attention. Even pets are entitled to discipline and love - are our children deserving of less?
Lisa Girard April 11, 2014 at 06:23 PM
I for one completely agree that we have too many parents who won't/don't say no and who "helicopter" their children's lives to the detriment of society. Learning a lesson at 18 yo is not the same as learning the lesson at 5 yo. As parents we need to stop short-changing our children and realize that they can learn the lesson at 5 yo. Too many parents are managed by their children instead of managing their children. Your post raises questions we all should be asking ourselves more.
Sheila April 13, 2014 at 12:16 PM
I saw 2 girls, older and younger sister, by themselves in store this weekend. Mom was in another part of the store shopping. Younger sister screamed and went running through store to Mom - "She won't let me look at (X)!" I don't know what the problem with the older sister really was, she was old enough to watch younger one (in small store) and younger one was certainly old enough to control herself. I think the older one was doing a good job trying to keep the younger one in line (she was telling her to calm down as I entered the store, the younger one who was 9 or 10 was running while pushing a cart and was a danger to others) but she clearly wasn't up to the job b/c the younger one must have not been disciplined as well since she had zero self-discipline and zero respect for the older sibling. I don't think this was "socially acceptable" behavior.


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