I read a wonderful editorial recently. (see below) Most parents say NO when their teens make one of their many requests because the requests are either unreasonable, unsafe or because parents are tired, worn out and aren't in the mood to deal. But after reading this article it got me to thinking about the times in my life when I got a NO. And many times, that NO forced me to rethink, readjust expectations, and become more creative. For example, when the book I published a few years ago: A Survival Guide To Parenting Teens, Talking To Your Kids About Sexting Drinking Drugs and Other Things That Freak You Out, (see how I put that plug in this blog!) was in it's infant stage, I showed what I thought was a finished manuscript to a big time editor of a big time publisher who I had met socially and who graciously offered to read it. I thought I had hit the holy grail. Hey everyone had told me this publishing thing was hard, and first time out I had my book in someone's hands. Initially the feedback was good, but then I got the "I think we'll pass" email, but with some very sage advice. First I had to lick my wounds. I was disappointed, and had to grieve the hit to my ego. But now I can see that this NO is what made my book something I am really proud of. At the time, I didn't think I had in me, to re-think and re-write, but that NO made me see that I did.
Saying NO doesn't have to be punitive. It can be a gateway to growth. This quote says it all:
Amichay identifies three types of “no”: The one that makes us try harder; the one that inspires us to rethink our visions; and finally, the one that moves us into a different direction.
So one of those times you say NO to your teen, maybe give them that chance to move in another direction. For example, when they come to you with one of their cockamamie, ridiculous, what are you thinking requests; instead of saying NO this is ridiculous, you can say: " Go back rethink, and come back to me with a more reasonable plan, and let's talk. Make them work just a little bit harder, and think just a little bit more, and maybe then they will get their holy grail YES.