Yesterday, my daughter, asked me to get something for her I didn’t want to get. What I found myself doing, instead of just saying no, was telling her, “I’m not the servant around here,” or “I just did so and so for you a minute ago.” I kept defending my “no” by making her feel bad about asking. Arrgg!
I knew, in my heart of hearts, something didn’t feel good but I couldn’t put my finger on it until later in the day. She was about to ask me for a glass of water (I was standing right by the cooler) and she stopped herself saying, “no, never mind, that might be too much for you.” I was standing right there! In an instant, the flash came, that she had been getting the message to monitor her desires because she didn’t want to hear me call her an Empress one more time.
As a parent coach, I coach parents to support their child’s desires. I recommend, even when saying no to a request, they still tell their child, good for you for asking. Because the truth is, you never know who might say yes. Also, if you learn to stuff down those desires, you learn to get your needs met through manipulation. I want my daughter to know her desires can and will be met, just not always by me.
Here I was going against my good coaching advice. I love when that happens because it gives me tons of compassion and authenticity when sharing with other moms and dads. We are all in this together, yes?
Practice: When your child ask you for something, see if you can just say yes or no without making them wrong for asking. Practice asking yourself, and see if you can be as loving when you hear no as you are to yes.