Ever feel like when you say ‘no’ to your kids, they hear, ‘She didn’t understand the question, so ask again.’ I got a good laugh when I read this quote because of how true it can be. It made me think about why kids do that. It also made me think about what I do when it occurs with my kids and if I could respond differently to help them understand my reasoning for my response. Anyway, if you’re struggling with this, or you want to try dealing with it differently, I’d say consider doing some reflecting and ask yourself some of these questions, and adjust as you see fit.
Have you given in before so they think if they ask enough times you’ll eventually cave in? Mean what you say and say what you mean, consistency helps with predictability for your kiddos.
Are you distracted, or not making eye contact, when you respond and they do truly feel like you’re not listening? Not that you have to look at them every time for every question/response, but I’m just saying you are a mama so I’m sure you’re multi-tasking, and they might truly think you didn’t understand, or hear, the question.
Do they understand why you are saying no? They’re human just like us and might simply be curious to know the reasoning for your no, but they don’t exactly vocalize that so they ask again and again. It might not be them questioning your decision making skills (the majority of the time anyway) but they might genuinely not understand why you are saying no. Not that they always need to know, they should respect your decision, but in our house we are big on respect and communication, and treating others how we’d like to be treated, so we do talk and explain often. Not that I always can, or do, right in that moment, but it’s pretty predictable that they know I have a valid reason and will explain later if need be. If your friend, boss, husband or whomever snaps a ‘no’ at you, it could make you wonder why not, or possibly frustrate you. Again, I’m not saying it is always necessary to sit and have a full on discussion, but it might be something you tell them you’ll ‘table’ to discuss later.
Do you say yes enough? Just throwing it out there.
So reflecting, in general, could you be more intentional about how you respond when they’re asking something if you sense they truly don’t know why you’re saying no? Maybe you could hear them out, and the point they are trying to make before you respond, give them a chance to explain themselves when the opportunity allows. If you know it’s a no, then declare it and give a quick reason to rest their wondering childlike minds. And remember, sometimes they genuinely don’t mean defiance from it, other times they do, so be in tune to it. Could you have a conversation with your kids to prep them if you know the questions will be coming if you know it will be a no? Front load them so that it’s not even a question when it’s inevitable that it will arise.
Communication communication communication! More on that another time.