Thursday, January 20, 2011

A wise woman -- mother of six, with a few years on the Matron, who has plenty of years lined up herself -- once said "No is the most loving word you can say to a child."

Tonight, the Matron said no twice--one small, one big.

HWCBN came into the kitchen for a snack at 5:50, just as dinner was in brewing. He went to the freezer for FOUR SCOOPS of ice cream.


Mayhem ensued. But the Matron stuck by her guns, which is harder to do than the path of least resistance.


Scarlett is the youngest child in play largely constituted by 15-18 year olds. These are really, really good kids. The theater is amazing. Every minute of her experience has been nothing but 100% positive.

But it turns out that the entire cast was invited for a sleepover tomorrow night.

The Matron called the mom hosting the sleepover. The teenagers will all be hopping in various cars and transporting themselves, and probably staying up all night. Scarlett is invited. Warmly welcome.

Let intuition and common sense prevail: no.

Scarlett is currently in bed, weeping. There's nothing she wants more than to be with this crowd. And the Matron knows these are good people involved in every regard. But she doesn't know the family hosting -- not at all -- and can't send her 12 year old into an overnight (boy and girls) with largely 15-17i year olds, who have the capacity for conversation and alertness that this 12 year old does not yet possess.


Much harder than yes.

Merrick? He wants a fish, a gopher, a frog, and a snake. Really, who has a gopher?

That's easier: no.

But no is hard. She's sure there are many, many more to come.


Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

Just an idea on a possible compromise for Scarlett--if it's practical given distance, etc.-- what if Scarlett goes just for dinner or dessert or something and comes home at 10?

I'm not a huge fan of "no" in situations like this either, so I'm always seeing if I can work an angle.

Elizabeth said...

No is so hard.

Catherine said...

Good compromise Jenn. I'll just add that, to save face, Scarlett could say that she has to get up early in the morning for something important.

trash said...

No is really hard but our children (and sometimes other people's if I am feeling brave) are the better for hearing it. Same with learning to compromise, being bored, feeling sad and apologising. Even better when they can see us modelling it too.

Good luck on finding a gopher.

Deb said...

No, it is a hard word. However, I am so glad you made the choice you did for Scarlett. I've sometimes, over the years, found out that some of my kids' friends were not always "good", though I was oblivious to it at the time.

You made the right call. Why put her in a situation where she wants to be accepted and have her maybe have to face a tough choice or feel uncomfortable.

I wish your people would learn to say no. I think sometimes we're afraid to act as parents and not their friends.

Deb said...

That "your" in the last sentence should be "more"! Sorry about that!

carol said...

In hindsight I learned that my kids often were counting on the "No" from me to get them out of situations they really didn't have the courage to say no to themselves. Of course the histrionics ensued to keep our "roles" well defined!

Anonymous said...

You made the right decision. Even though she would probably be viewed as the "cute little sister" in the situation as opposed to a peer, she would still be seeing and hearing things meant for kids at a different stage than she is at.

Perhaps Jenn's idea would have been a good compromise - we have used that tactic before when invited to a sleepover of a family I didn't trust. But no was good too.

*m* said...

What Carol said.

And I personally think "No" was preferable to the compromise. There will be plenty of time to socialize with teens when she is one herself.

You are a good mama.

Jennifer said...

Good job, Mom. I wholeheartedly agree that you said the right thing. I used to be one of the "good" kids in high school, and I know from experience that even the good kids do and say some things that 12 year olds should not be privy to. No matter how grown up or responsible they are, 12 year olds are not 15 (or especially!) 17 year olds. There's almost a lifetime of experience in those 5 years. I was told no a few times, too, and I'm pretty sure I was better off in the long run. Can your family do something fantastic with Scarlett that night to ease the pain of not attending? It's so hard to be not-quite-old-enough.

Daisy said...

It's difficult to say no, but it's worth it. You have harder "no" answers than many moms do. Good for you for sticking to your guns!

Anonymous said...

atta girl! No is SO hard, but looking back, I realize many of my parents' "nos" were good for me. And I want my kids to be good too, in the long run.

Anonymous said...

Atta Mom!
My 6 yr old son wants a pet turkey vulture. The "no" was easy on that one! Though he continues to ask.

Irene said...

Very good of you, the no to Scarlett. That is a wise decision. You're a smart mom.

Anonymous said...

Oh heck, let Scarlett go to the slumber party -- what could possible go wrong? (Yes, I jest. "No" was most definitely the correct response to her request.)

~annie said...

Jennifer is right - there is a great deal of experience and growth that happens between 12 and 15-17. If it's any consolation, my 19 year old college daughter has already thanked me for some of the "NOs" I imposed during her early teens. I'm sure Scarlett will understand one day!

Minnesota Matron said...

You guys rock! I needed this affirmation as I've gotten 15 text messages begging for the overnight. We went the Jenn route and she was allowed to go over for two hours and was just picked up at 10 pm. She's super angry but I know it's the right route. Thanks for all the good feedback!!

Xtreme English said...

for chrissake, she's TWELVE, people! NO is definitely the right answer, and the compromise still left her pissed off. good for you, matron!

Anonymous said...

I just found your blog in the last few days, so I'm commenting late. Of course, "no" was the right answer. The compromise was great too. When your daughter is old enough to examine the scenario, she will appreciate that you went an extra mile so she could participate. I confess, my son contested everything, and I would have resisted that compromise in order to skip the ongoing whining for "just a little bit more".