No is not a 4 letter word


As a mom, you want to give your children everything, protect them from all hurts – physical, emotional, real or imagined. You want to give them the world. You just want to keep them happy at all costs

Don’t you?

I am not so sure. In order to become productive, independent, compassionate adults who contribute positively to the world, maybe you should not do that  Maybe, instead, we need to teach them that they are not in fact the center of the universe. Maybe, just maybe, we need to show them that they need to work for things, that failure is not the end of the world, and that not everyone gets a trophy.oppositional-defiance-and-young-kids-is-it-odd-or-just-bratty-behavior_Article

I am opposed to the trend in parenting and child rearing that treats children like little gods. When did adults start deferring to their child’s wishes?  Disappointment and hurts are a part of life. Childhood is the time to practice how to deal with, process and bounce back…all while being in a safe place with Mom and Dad as a backup if you need them.  A backup, not a first line of defense.

I know, I know…you want them to be happy and safe. No matter what.  But I have a secret for you. Move in close and I will share.  I will speak slowly and clearly so you don’t miss any of this.  Here goes……………

By letting your kids run your house and your life and giving into every single whim, you are making them (yourself and your family) miserable in the end. You really are!

But little Timmy was just soooooo upset, I don’t like to see him like that.

So what your saying is you did not do it solely to make little Timmy happy. You mostly did it to make yourself feel better and because it’s just easier to give in.


Step back and think about this. Yes, it is easier in the now, in the short term.  In the long run however, you are making everyone’s life harder.  You will regret it long term.  Yes it shuts them up and makes them happy and when in public it gets people to stop looking at you.  Here is the thing though; you have just given your small child power.  Power that they are not old enough to handle.  You have also given them knowledge.  You have taught them some important things about yourself, and none of them are flattering.  You have given them the knowledge that there is a large crack in your armor and you have exposed yourself as being weak and easily manipulated.  Great impression huh?  The thought that the one person who is supposed to defend and protect them is weak, is in many ways frightening for a child.  Listen, kids fight the system now and then, but if past experience has taught them that they can outwit and outlast you, they will fight that system all the time with everything they’ve got.  Welcome to Tiny Tyrants.


Unfortunately this trend has presented us with an abundance of whiney, self-centered, easily offended young adults and teens. They struggle more than they should with how to handle bad grades, making hard choices, not winning, bullying, and all sorts of ‘real life’ woes.  They have never practiced. Parents (and especially it seems mothers) have a difficult time tolerating their child’s disappointment.  Is that because the child is hurt or sad or because that parent wants to do ‘a good job’?  Probably it’s a combination of both. Again, I totally understand the concept and the feeling behind it.  Seriously though, don’t you want a kid who knows you are there for them AND who knows they can handle things themselves?  Don’t you want them to have self-confidence and strength and adaptability?

My children were stunned and dismayed when they went to college and realized that a large majority of college freshman don’t know how to do laundry, shop for groceries, cook, find their way around, get a prescription when sick, or speak to a professor when then have a problem. How sad is that?  I watched many times when parents would arrive on campus for a visit and proceed to clean their child’s dorm room, bring enough food (which they carefully put away for them), returned clothes washed and folded that they had brought back from home. Parents who call to wake up their son or daughter to get to class on time or call to make sure they have done their homework! These are 19, 20 and 21 year old ADULTS!

Sorry but no.

Why would you want your child to be like this? Why would you inflict this helpless, narcissistic, entitled person on the world?

Children need to learn how to delay gratification. To wait. To work toward something and achieve it. To save up and earn it. To put in blood and sweat and tears and finally accomplish something.  You know that feeling right?  I DID IT!  Look mommy I did it all by myself!

Why in the heck would you deprive your child of that feeling of personal pride?

What about respecting themselves, you and others? What a concept, right?

Let’s all be actual parents…not peers or pals or buddies. Model good behavior and let them see how people should act. Let them see you and others performing acts of kindness, forgiveness, compassion, mercy and love.  Teach them to put others before themselves. Teach them sacrifice for their beliefs.  Teach them to think for themselves.  To get up and brush themselves off and start again when they fail or fall.  Teach them that there are consequences for every action and decision – both good and bad. Make them make decisions and choices and live with those consequences.

To put a spin on Gandhi’s words – TEACH the change you want to see in the world.

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