I did say NO to my Mom, and not just during the reflex-NO period of toddlerhood.
I certainly cannot recall her ever reassuring me with:
“And I want you to know that NO is an okay answer.”
Our children and partners matter to us. If we’re thriving there is a mutual generosity that is active. With that comes a willingness to speak the love language of service.
When we’re blessed to have beings in our lives who are WILLING, I believe it is incredibly generous to let them know – through our responses and sometimes using explicit words – it is okay to say NO.
With my now-adult kids, I used to ask most of the time:
“Would you like to…?”
And in those words – different from “I need you to…” – I was indicating that NO was totally cool with me, even if I would be disappointed or need to find support elsewhere.
It’s my own parental intention to continue to make this explicit, to differentiate between the (hopefully rare) times when I must exert parental authority and the far more common times when we’re finding our Win-Win and Yes-Yes, where if NO is not okay… then they are really not free to choose.
How do you differentiate for your kids between commands and requests?
Words of Wisdom Matter. I’d love to hear yours.