Just Say No (Part 4)

iStock_000008319170XSmallWell let’s get back on track here. It has been a while since I have contributed to the “Just say No” series, so here we go.

I have received a couple emails about my last post, where I used the analogy of fencing a kid in using the word “NO” as fence posts and our family values and expectations as the boards between.

Both of these emails warned that this type of parenting is archaic and will only raise kids who will rebel and cause nothing but trouble as they try to break free from being “fenced in”. It is the classic story of the overbearing, strict parents and the rebel child and I even subscribed to this point of view myself oh so many years ago. I have even seen this classic tale played out a number of times over my past 15 years of working with at risk youth but in reality this cliche’ scenario is in the minority, when looking at the “at risk” youth population.

Of the hundreds of “at risk” kids I have encountered over the years or children who are in conflict with their family, more than 90% of them were brought up in a permissive, unstructured and enabling family environment. It is overwhelmingly this group of kids, who have the greatest difficulties dealing with life as they reach adulthood.

Again, “Just say No” is not about depriving but surviving. Teaching your child that there are constraints in life, that “No” is a word that others in their life will use and use frequently. Life is not about getting your way but making your way. It is a journey with twists, turns and obstacles which the individual needs to learn to navigate around and sometimes accept the denial that some of those obstacles present.

“Just Say No” is real life and should be applied liberally to every child’s upbringing.

You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.