Knowing When to Say No

By Nadine Briggs

Mom: “Why don’t you guys go out for some fresh air and shoot some hoops or something?”holdingbreath copy

Kid’s friend: “My mom said I can only ride my bike.”

Mom: “Oh. Your mom said you couldn’t do other outdoor activities other than ride your bike?”

Kid’s friend: “Yeah.”

Granted, there may be more to this story that was not explained by this child. However, there have been many similar comments from this particular kid in the past. The host family was always left wondering the point of having such restrictions. Certainly parents understand, and agree with, a mom wanting her child to be outside playing on a beautiful warm day instead of inside playing video games or some other sedentary activity. Trying to figure out why a mom would dictate exactly what the outdoor activity should be, however, is puzzling. In general, unrealistic restrictions placed on someone causes a bit of rebellion. This girl will stay inside and do everything except ride that bike.

So how do you know when to say “no” when the rules or expectations are not inherently clear? When you have thoughtfully considered all the reasons to say “yes.”