From Our Readers The Word No: A Great Word for Daughters to Hear From Our Readers

Thinking back to how I was raised to what I see going on nowadays, I feel very grateful to have a mother who was present, there and wanted to be my mother and not my friend.

I was never given everything I wanted; in fact the word no was a very popular word in my household. Not in a horrible “No! How could you do such a thing.” kind of way, but in a “No, you cannot go to a party with no parental supervision and underage drinking. You’re only 15!” kind of way. And thank goodness.

I feel like a lot of parents nowadays use the word yes way too much. It’s like every other word out of their mouth. Right along with “Aren’t you moved out yet?” and “Chicken nuggets okay for dinner again?”. Parents everywhere tend to be a little (or in most cases, very) lenient and just give in to their child’s every wish, no matter how ridiculous the request may be.

I feel like this may come from two distinct places: a) the parent is lazy and perhaps does not feel like fighting with their teenager (yet again), so they say yes to whatever it is they may be asking for just to end the conversation. OR b) they want to make their child happy, so they immediately say yes as a way to temporarily buy their appreciation and love. And I use the word temporarily because I’m talking about teenagers here – everything is temporary.

What they seem to forget about or neglect is, every child (young, old and in between) is always and quite simply looking for love from their parents. So instead of saying yes to letting your teen go out and get plastered with their friends on a Friday night, maybe a good option would be to spend a little quality time with your kid and just talk. I mean, you went through the trouble of making the thing and changing all those disgusting diapers, why not talk to it every once in a while and take them out for a night of bowling? Sounds fun, right?

Here is a short (but important) list of things I’d personally like to thank my mom for saying no to:

  • The butterfly tattoo on my lower back (I cannot tell you how great it feels not to be a cliche!) Alcohol for parties (Believe me, I was no angel, but really – does any teen need help in the drinking department? If they want to drink, they’ll find a way. Plus, no parent looks “cool” handing over a case of beer to their teenager. They just look sad.)
  • Sleepovers at unknown friend’s houses (It totally didn’t make sense back then, but now, how could you ever let your kids stay some place (and overnight, no less!) where you didn’t know every single person in that house and what their deal was! Creepy!)
  • Every piece of clothing (and there weren’t that many) that was either a little too skimpy or short (Short shorts are a little too available for young girls these days. And parents seem to just be okay with their daughters walking around with their butts hanging out. Self respect – it’s learned at home, folks.)
  • Lastly, thank you for saying no (not all the time, but a lot of the time) when I asked for money for concerts, clothes, movies, food, make-up and hair dye all in the same weekend! (I started babysitting for my neighbors at the age of 12 and got my first real job at 16 and it really taught me the value of a dollar. Plus, money is a lot more fun to spend if you’ve spent the time to work hard for it!

You can read more from Ashley Connell on her blog.

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  1. I am a 23 year old not-yet-a-mother but fully want to affirm this thinking from my perspective as a daughter. My mother and father tended to use the “no” more often than not and now I have such an appreciation for it! As a college graduate, compared to many of my friends, I have a much more realistic sense of my responsibilities as an adult, whether financially, academically, or socially. Because of the “no” I saw my parents actually as parents rather than friends, so growing up I valued the way they saw me and the type of person I would become in the future because of them. Plus, as I have gotten older and will continue to do so, the opportunity to share a friendhsip with my parents will most definitely be there, especially when I become a parent myself! So, if I may speak on the behalf of other kiddos and daughters everywhere, please stay strong in the “no” and implementing boundaries. We will be better individuals and future parents because of it!

  2. This was a wonderful post. I oftentimes try to remind myself that it’s ok to say “no” to my children when they ask for that extra snack (I have two young ones – 4 and 1.5) before dinner etc. and to not give in if they cry . The friend thing will probably pop up the older that they get and I know that I have to be more of a mom then a friend, the friend thing can happen when they’re adults but not right now, when I’m trying to teach them and guide them. Thanks for the post!

  3. I also hate when I hear parents complain that their kids misbehave even though they have given them loads of material things (like computers, tv, phones etc). You can’t buy your child’s good behavior. Its nice that you choose to furnish your home with electronics, and I am sure your kids like using their phones and whatever, but that is no substitute for parenting. Your kids don’t owe your their undying gratitude just because you recently gave them the IPhone. And no, they don’t see it that way either. Misbehavior in kids does not equal ingratitude for gifts, they are separate things. It boggles my mind that people don’t understand this.