Friday, December 17, 2010

Should I have to say "no"?

Recently I was watching a news story with a parent upset with McDonald's. She was upset that McDonald's offered a toy with their Happy Meal, causing her children to frequently ask to go to McDonald's, resulting in her frequently having to tell them "no" when they asked to go. She's even decided to sue McDonald's because of her children's annoying behavior.

Now, in all honesty, this may simply be an attempt by a person going after a big company in search of a big financial payout. But it got me thinking, is parenting my children really my responsibility? I mean, I shouldn't have to tell my children "no" should I? To me, this parent's complaint is silly. It is my responsibility to tell my children "no" when necessary.

Is it always easy to tell my children "no"? Of course not. Do I like telling Ella "no" when she wants to stay up later to play, but she needs to go to bed? No I don't. Do I like telling Ella "no" when she tries to run off when it is time for me to change her diaper or when she refuses to hold my hand when walking through a parking lot? I must tell her "no" in these situations because it is my responsibility to set boundaries for her. Do I like to listen to Ella whine and complain? Would it be easier at times to give in? Yes, it can certainly be easier to give in, but that isn't what I should do (although it isn't always easy and I know there are already times I've given into her when I probably shouldn't have). Her father and I must train her! It is our duty! Do we want to raise children who think they should always get their way?


And, for what it is worth, I personally don't think there is anything wrong with a McDonald's Happy Meal every now and then. :) Will I sue McDonald's if my children are whining to go there? Nope. But I will correct and redirect their behavior if they whine about it. Because no matter what the parent in the news story says, it isn't McDonald's duty to keep her children from complaining and whining. It is her responsibility.