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Parenting advice that rocks!

2 November
Posted by:
Michael Grose

Are you old enough to remember when The Rolling Stones sang, “You can’t always get what you want” all those years ago?

If you are a parent it pays to take notice of the words of this song. The Stones were right – you can’t always get what you want. There are some things out of reach or simply worth waiting for.

This means having the will to say No to kids when their requests are unreasonable. It is good sometimes to wait for something special. It makes you appreciate it.

When I was young as my mother bought 6 bottles of lemonade from the visiting ‘lemonade man’ each fortnight. There were three of us in our family who shared those bottles. We made them last as long as possible because when they ran out there was no more. It was hard, but we kept an eye on each other.

That lemonade was a real treat because we didn’t get it every day. Ever noticed that when something is readily available it is no longer a treat?

The other point about the lemonade is that we kids practised impulse control. We had to put a lid on our impulses. We may have felt like guzzling but the promise of a swift kick in the rear from a sibling made sure that we made the drink last.

Impulse control is one of the keys to effective living yet our community has an aversion to saying No to kids. Those kids who can control their impulses and wait are generally better behaviourally, academically and socially. In an effort to avoid disappointing kids, some adults bend over backwards to give them what they want.

Impulse control is about developing self-discipline. An ingredient for success in any field.

Once a seminar attendee listening to my spiel on saying NO to kids said, “But I thought that saying NO is bad for kids.”

If we always refuse every request then life would be tough. I also like to open doors for kids rather than keep putting barriers in front of them.

One technique you can use if you find yourself saying No all the time is to reply, “Yes, you can…. when you….” For instance, “Yes, you can watch television when you have done your homework.” But this is just window-dressing hiding a NO.

There is no doubt that saying No to kids is hard work as it is in their job descriptions to push parental (and adult) boundaries. It is in their long term best interests to realise that they “can’t always get want you want….

But as the Stones also sang, “you can try sometimes, you can try”.

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