Nope. It’s really as simple as that. Let me ‘splain… (Explain) I have an arsenal of trust built up with my kids. They trust that I have their best interest in mind; they trust that I love them like crazy, and they trust that I tell them the truth…even when I tell them that there will be consequences for certain actions. They trust that I will do what I say I will do. No gray areas.
The lack of gray in our lives has allowed us to communicate in an extremely black and white, clear-cut, simple way. I use one very powerful word…NOPE.
When I walk past their room and hear them arguing over toys, or whatever, I simply peek my head in, shake my head, and just say, “Nope.” It’s like magic! The arguing stops and I’ll tell you why.
It’s not because I am this super, all-powerful person, the world’s most amazing mom, or that my kids are the epitome of obedience. And no, it is not because of all of the times that I have said to them, “If you argue over that Barbie accessory, I will take it and give it away.”
It’s because I’ve done it. Done what, you ask? I FOLLOWED THROUGH. Very important! Muy importante! Très important! Get it? I actually GAVE THE BARBIE SHOES AWAY! I did the unthinkable! I have actually put brand new toys in the trash can, and in the yard sale bin! (With a sick stomach, I might add!) It’s not easy, but we have to follow through, Mom! Be consistent. It’s really as simple as that.
No matter how hard it is to give that toy away, or see them cry because you sent them to bed early, or watch them mope around because they are not allowed to go to the sleepover.
(NOTE: I have also done the opposite…meaning NOT followed through, so I’m telling you from experience, it doesn’t work. It bites you in the end, I promise.)
I don’t always say or do things as a mom as calm, cool, and collected as I want to. I have my ‘Calgon, take me away’ days, for sure. However, I do know that the reason I am still sane today is because of consistency.
Don’t threaten what you can’t deliver! I have heard parents in the grocery store say to their 3 yr. old, “If you don’t sit down, I’m going to take you out of this cart and leave you here by yourself!” Ok, let’s be realistic. You aren’t really going to leave your 3 yr. old at the grocery store alone because they stood up in the cart. If you are, then maybe that 3 yr. old would be better off! Oh, and if you really aren’t going to throw away your teenager’s $200.00 cell phone if they don’t get off of it, don’t tell them you will. Tell them you will make it your $200.00 cell phone. That would be a major mommy bonus! You catch my drift.
I have told my girls that I would give their things away, or make their bedtimes earlier if they didn’t change the behavior they were displaying, and they know I mean business. No empty threats here, ladies! I can’t afford it. Empty threats make for a miserable day for me, and I don’t intend on living my life in misery.
You’ve all heard it…”Spare the rod, spoil the child.” What’s your rod? We’re not always talking physical discipline, but whatever the rod, don’t spare it! Say what you mean, and mean what you say. The first time you don’t follow through with a threat of discipline, you have just set the precedent, and it’s so hard to go back…not impossible, just a whole lot harder. I vote for preventative maintenance!
So, I am now at the place with my kids where I can just say NOPE.
When I see my 7 yr. old carry a plate of crackers toward the living room…nope! When I see my 12 yr. old texting her friend while we are about to sit down to dinner as a family…nope! When my 10 year old goes to walk out of her room after changing clothes and leaves a cotton tornado behind…nope!
Ah, yes, four beautiful little letters which make up an amazingly clear path of communication. Just say NOPE!