Let Your No Be No

no-480x360Jesus instructed His followers during His Sermon on the Mount that we are to be people of our word.  He said, “Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything more than this comes from evil,” (Matthew 5:37, ESV).

Don’t be wishy washy.  Don’t waiver.  Follow through.

Now apply that to parenting.

Jen Wilkin at The Gospel Coalition made the following point – while were usually pretty good at letting our “yes” be “yes” with our kids, letting our “no” be “no” – not so much.  It hurts our credibility in the long run.

Who hasn’t seen the young mom in the grocery store issuing and repeating a series of “no” statements to her young child, to be met with either no acknowledgment or outward defiance? It is critical for parents to understand the subtext of these scenarios: they are a battle for parental credibility.

When we issue a “no” command and our child does not obey, she is asking us an important question: “Are you a person of your word?” How we respond to non-compliance will tell her the answer. If we repeat the command or allow the disobedience to go uncorrected, we tell her that our word is not our bond. If we follow through with correction, we tell her that our word can be trusted.

Why don’t we follow through? Usually, because we have casually given a command we don’t care about enforcing or because we don’t want to exert ourselves to administer a consequence.  Parents whose word is their bond say what they mean and mean what they say. They only commands what they expect to be done, and they follows through with a consequence even if it requires effort. They care more about consistency than comfort. They care more about integrity than inconvenience.

So if you tell your child no – stick with it.  Be consistent.

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