There’s a crucial life skill missing among teenagers. Far too many seem incapable of resisting their friends when it counts. The good news is your kids can learn to say “no.” But keep in mind, you have to let them start with you.
The word “no” is an important boundary. It’s a way to separate ourselves from other people. Without it, we can’t have our own opinions or beliefs, and our individuality gets swept away by others more willing to speak their mind.
Sadly, the reluctance to express an opinion often begins at home. When a child tells a parent “no” or disagrees over some matter, it’s often considered “backtalk.” And how does the parent usually react? They stamp out the child’s behavior with a stern warning that it had better never happen again. Is it any wonder, then, that kids dread taking a stand against the outside world when their opinion is so readily condemned by those closest to them?
Mind you, a child shouldn’t be allowed to speak disrespectfully to a parent or to dismiss their authority. But kids learn to take value in their opinions – and themselves – when their parents value their perspective. So, as long as your child behaves respectfully, allow them room to have an opinion, especially when it differs from yours. It’ll give them the confidence to stand firm in their Christian values out in the real world where it counts most.
For a daily dose of encouragement and perspective, check out Jim Daly’s blog, Daly Focus, at JimDalyBlog.com.