"Can I cut the carrots myself?" (asked by a three-year-old). If the request will harm their body, I say no. "Is it okay if we watch this (inappropriate) movie?" If the request will harm their minds, I say no. "Can I play with _________?" (child who is known to be mean and/or disobedient) If the request will harm their hearts, I say no. "Can I paint my picture on the couch?" If the request will harm property, I say no. "Can you tell Katie to stop playing with this. I want it!" If the request encourages selfishness, I say no. "Can I have ice cream now? (after refusing to eat dinner)." If the request rewards disobedience, I say no. "Can I just skip math today?" If the request encourages/approves of laziness, I say no. "Can we just tell ________ we're going out today?" (When we are not). If the request makes light of God's word, I say no. "Get me some water." If the request is made in a disrespectful way, I say no (though usually I would say, "Can you please try that again?") "Can I PLEASE have a snack? (asked for the 3rd time, 20 minutes before dinner). If the child doesn't accept my answer and asks again, I say no. Can you wake Bethany up so I can go into my room to get my toy? If the request will harm another person (their body, heart, or mind), I say no.Saying no to our children is as important as saying yes. In each case, our aim should be the child's good (not necessarily our own). It isn't always black and white. It isn't always easy. Wisdom dictates which answer to choose.
Yesterday, I talked about A Time to Say Yes. I think that we as moms need to make sure to say yes, and to say it often. However, there is also a time to say no. In fact, I say, no all the time. Saying no is important. This doesn't contradict what I said yesterday. When Should We Say No? The short and easy answer? Whenever saying yes to a request would be (potentially) harmful to the child.