Have you ever been around kids who constantly ask you for something like, “Will you play with me?” “Can we go to the playground?” “Can we go to the creek?” “Can we get a smoothie?” It’s like they have this secret plot to wear you down until you give in. The more you put them off, the more persistent and needy they become.
Often, when I do energy work on mothers, I feel like I need a huge spatula to slide under them to lift them up off the ground. They are so run-over and depleted that their energy bubble is flattened, like a pancake. But a lot of this exhaustion is just a parenting issue. I believe that this kind of parental torture can be prevented.
When kids are begging, “Can we go to the creek?” or “Can we go to the playground?” it’s so hard to know how to answer. If you say, “Yes, later today,” or “Maybe,” kids want to know exactly when. There are so many things that could prevent you from being able to make that excursion happen. You cannot honestly guarantee that you will be able to take them today. It could rain. A friend could stop by, needing your counsel. You could remember that you were supposed to grocery shop in order to make the dinner you planned. Or you were supposed to run an errand for an event tomorrow, but now you’ve told the kids you’d take them to the playground. This causes so much pressure, because all day long, as you are trying to get everything done, you can feel the energy of the kids, wanting and needing you to fulfill their wishes—pulling on you energetically and depleting you of vital life-force and focus. By the time you get to the playground, your energy field is no longer full, rich and bright. Taking them to play, now feels like a burden.
If you told them that, “Yes, we can go to the playground,” but then, the day takes a turn, and you can’t go after all, the kids have wasted their whole day, eagerly willing the event to happen, and then, feel completely disappointed and sad when it doesn’t happen. They may go off to their rooms sulking or crying a pitiful cry. Then you feel guilty, and the sweet peace of motherhood is ruined. A lot of parents get defensive, and start explaining that they never said “Yes.” They said “Maybe,” and that they had no control over the way the day turned out. But the kid feels like their parent lied to them. Like you promised, and then let them down. This kind of emotional drama can make you feel like you should have never said yes in the first place.
So, I just started saying no. All the time. “No.” To everything fun my kids asked me to do. “No.” If you try this parenting technique out for yourself, at first you might feel like a mean parent, but it is very liberating. When the kids beg, “Can we go to the playground? Can we? Can we?” You just say, “No.” They ask, “Can we have a dance party tonight?” “No.” If they ask, “Why?” I just put my hand up, like a policewoman stopping traffic, to say, “Leave me be.” I don’t need to explain why I am saying no. That just wastes more of my energy. And any explanation that you give someone who wants what they want, can be argued, which is even more of a waste of energy. If you answer their questions, you train kids to badger you even more. But if you give them a clear “No,” kids quickly learn that you are not going to give in to their demands, so they might as well stop pushing you. I also turn my head away. My gesture says, “Stop assaulting me.” They walk away, disappointed, but I am free. The game of harassing mommy is over, because mommy isn’t playing.
Without kids hanging on you, and hoping that you will do what they want you to do, you have more energy to focus on getting everything done on your list. Telling your kids, “No,” creates energetic space around you. It’s a nice clean boundary for you and for them. Then, when you finish all of your chores, and need some fresh air, you can surprise them with, “Hey guys! Want to go to the playground?” They will fly out of their rooms, throw on their shoes and off to the playground you will go.
This clean way of parenting, makes you the unpredictable, fun, spontaneous adult who brings an unexpected breath of fresh air into their daily lives. Instead of their energy pushing and pulling you around, you can steer your own ship and enjoy all of the fun things to do with kids on your own terms when you have plenty to give.
When I see bedraggled parents, I just want to follow them around and show them when their vital energy is being drained. I want to have a little hidden camera on the moms so that I can show them how and when they are allowing their kids to take too much from them.
Kids don’t want to take too much from their parents. They want you to like them. They really want to know when to leave you alone and when to come close. Parents who allow their kids to take too much from them, create insecure, needy children, because kids can feel the unspoken tension and begin to wonder if you even like them. Don’t be afraid to just say, “No,” to your kid, with no explanation. They’ll soon learn that you are just being clear. Once they experience how much fun you are when you protect and maintain your energy, they will respect your space even more. And, without meaning to, you are also showing them how to stay in their own bubble, not take too much from another person, create clean boundaries for themselves, and use their energy wisely.