My knuckles turning white on the full grocery cart I’m pushing. Dreading the impulse buy gauntlet (aka “check-out line”). The questions WILL come. “Can I have this?” “Can I get ONE thing [they mean candy]?” I’ll be honest, I want to say yes, EVERY single time. I mean, come on… sugar tastes good.
So here I am approaching the check-out thinking: “I’m going to say no, I’m going to say no, I’m going to say no…” Then it happens, I respond to the first request: “No.” Then comes the rebuttal: “PLEASE, Dad? PLEEASE?”
“Okay.. just one, and you don’t get it until after supper tonight.”
Now I’m thinking: “Wait! What just happened?!”
- I know they like candy.. I want them to enjoy it.
- We don’t have sweets on a regular basis.. sure, why not..?
- It’s one piece of candy. (It won’t kill them or even come close.)
They were pretty good, they deserve a reward.
- I’m going to give my arm and leg here in a few moments in exchange to feed my family this week. It’s not going to put a dent in the amount .. really….
No. It’s none of those. Deep down.. the depth of “deep down” where you think and either dismiss thoughts quickly or ponder.. I caved in because I perceived I would avoid public embarrassment – the potential tantrum in response to my “No.” There’s a whole slew of reasons why no becomes negotiable. I’m not suggesting that there is only one reason.
Here’s what I am processing in my own parenting: Is your “no” negotiable?