Parents: Just Say No.

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I’m old, so I have the right to complain about all of society’s problems.NO!  Say It!

As an old person, I’m of course bothered by young people and their new-fangled ways and crazy ideas.

I like things, not the way they were, but the way I remember them (which is a lot better than they were).

Lots of things bug me, but I don’t have time (or the strength at my advanced age) to blog about all of them.

One, stop with the trophies.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again:  if your kid (or mine) is crappy at a particular activity, they don’t deserve a trophy.

This leads them to believe they are just as good as the other kids and it’s just not true.

It’s okay to be bad.  It encourages children (and adults) to search for activities in which they are better.

Finishing 2nd stinks, but it’s not the end of the world.

The Constitution says “We are All Created Equal.”  This is true.  You will notice it doesn’t say, “We are All Good at Soccer When We are Eight Years Old.”

Some kids just aren’t as good as their peers.  If you ask them, they know.

Giving them a trophy might make the adults feel better, but it doesn’t make the kid any faster.

Another thing (actually there are many more, but I’m getting sleepy) that bugs me is parents need to man (and woman) up and tell your kids “No.”

“No” isn’t a curse word.

It’s not insulting.

It won’t ruin their lives.

If it hurts your child’s feelings, who cares.  They will grow up and hate you for a lot more complicated reasons than telling them “No” when they wanted candy, or to watch TV for 47 straight hours, or begged you for money, or wanted to wear something inappropriate to school.

“No” is good.  We all need to hear it.

Discipline is what we do for children, not what we do to children.

Stop with the trophies.  Stop trying not to hurt you precious child’s feelings.

They will survive.

We did.

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12 Responses to “Parents: Just Say No.”


  1. Brett Gibbs
    on Sep 15th, 2013
    @ 2:49 pm

    Great blog Michael…I really did miss you over the summer…keep up the great writing

    Michael Smith Reply:

    Thank you. I miss summer.


  2. Scot Wright
    on Sep 15th, 2013
    @ 3:18 pm

    I really like the way you say things. Keep the comments coming!


  3. Christine Ontko
    on Sep 16th, 2013
    @ 7:06 am

    Said even better than Nancy Reagan.

    Michael Smith Reply:

    Thank you. I wonder how many students who see this blog even remember Mrs. Reagan.


  4. Reflections Week 3: The Principals Page – Parents: Just Say No | A Shepherd in Training
    on Sep 16th, 2013
    @ 4:57 pm

    [...] work together to help students attain their goals in life. In this particular blog titled Parents: Just Say No, Mr. Smith admonishes parents of the importance of saying “no” and how it can help [...]


  5. nifsindia
    on Sep 17th, 2013
    @ 8:34 am

    Youth today should follw the elders, thats a way for a better future…! Keep up posting…!


  6. Dave Grant
    on Sep 19th, 2013
    @ 11:13 am

    Great post Michael.

    However, the way society has evolved through the last few decades, every 20-somethings still feel the need to be given a trophy for trying (I’m 31, I can say this about this age group!).

    Parens, coaches, etc. should be just that, not someone trying to make kids feel good.


  7. Diana
    on Sep 20th, 2013
    @ 11:32 am

    You should also add don’t buy your 12 year old a smart phone. You should see what these twits tweet when we’re not looking.


  8. Candice
    on Sep 21st, 2013
    @ 9:58 pm

    This was not sugarcoated, I agree that we can give an E for effort but not a trophy for every child and by saying “no” sets boundaries for our children to learn about our world.


  9. Diane
    on Sep 29th, 2013
    @ 7:44 pm

    The trick is to say “yes” often enough (under the right circumstances, of course) so that when the time does come to say “no”, your children accept it. My kids know that if their father or I say no to something we have a good reason for it, we mean it, and we won’t be talked out of it. No matter how much they cry, beg, or get mad. Though the crying and and begging have stopped now that they’re 15 and 17 years old. Thank goodness. :)


  10. Nicole
    on Apr 4th, 2014
    @ 10:27 am

    I am a preservice teacher, and I think that this is is such an important lesson! I especially loved the part about kids not needing trophies for simply participating. The experience of participating should be the reward. If a student excels at a sport or activity then this experience will be more rewarding for them. However, if a student doesn’t do so well at a sport or activity, then they’ve been rewarded with a valuable learning experience and can move onto another sport or activity that they will be able to flourish in.

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