Saturday, February 27, 2010

GUEST BLOG POST -- Are You a Yes-Mom? by Susan Newman, Ph.D.

Children have no trouble saying no. But, it’s a word you avoid because it sets your guilt-meter running especially where your children are concerned. You don’t want to disappoint them or make them unhappy.

We’re a culture of yes-parents…we give and give into most of what our children ask. But, how do you stop? And, why is saying NO to your children a good thing?

How Much of a Yes-Mom Are You?

If any of these sounds vaguely like you, it’s likely that your children turn you into a yes-parent quite easily.

1. Your living room looks like a toy store.
2. At any given hour the couch doubles as a trampoline, a wrestling mat, a hiding place or arts and crafts center.
3. Your child wears his Halloween costume to school in February.
4. You’re on a first-name basis with the workers at McDonald’s.
5. Your child has everything her best friend has.
6. Your six-year-old stays up so late that he can fill you in on Jay Leno’s monologue from the night before.
7. Your daughter’s last birthday party was more elaborate than your wedding.
8. You have three dogs, two kittens, and a parakeet who all hang out around the fish tank.
9. You spend most Saturday evenings in the movie theatre parking lot waiting for your children and their friends.
10. You spend Sunday evenings writing history reports and crafting science projects you found out about during dinner.
11. The text messaging charges are bigger than your monthly cell phone fee.
12. Your child’s band equipment takes up both parking spaces in the garage.

NO Teaches Life Lessons

When you say yes to your children indiscriminately, they control the pace, tenor and direction of your life: buy me, drive me, help me, finish this for me. By calling up a no when you need it, you gain a bit of deserved time for yourself and equally important, no prepares your child for the “real” world.

No teaches children important lessons, essential experiences that aren’t always taught in school such as:

• how to cope with disappointment
• how to argue
• how to strike a balance between work and play
• time management and task prioritization

When children grow up learning these concepts, they are more likely to be successful in their academics, relationships, and later on, in their careers.

Parenting is a forever proposition. You’ll be saying no—or should be—for decades…so park your guilt. I’m pretty sure your children will find something else to fault you for when they're adults. It won’t be the pet monkey, age-inappropriate movie or latest electronic gizmo you denied them during their growing years.

For more on how to say NO to your children, friends, family and at work, see:


Attention parents of one child of any age! Susan Newman would like to speak with you (your name will not be used) about your choice or the circumstances that led to you having one child. If you’re “on the fence” about having more children, she would like to know that too. Please contact her at:, and she will explain this research project in detail.

Susan Newman, Ph.D. is a social psychologist and author of 14 books, including Parenting an Only Child, The Joys and Challenges of Raising Your One and Only and The Book of NO: 250 Ways to Say It--and Mean It and Stop People-Pleasing Forever. Her latest, Under One Roof Again: All Grown Up and (Re)Learning to Live Together Happily will be published this Spring. Visit her website; to follow a continuing discussion of only children, see Singletons at Psychology Today magazine.

Labels: , , , ,


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home