Halloween is one of Johanna’s favorite holidays.  Each year she loves to choose a princess and guise herself around our town trick-or-treating.  Each year we buy about $80 of candy and hand it out to all the children and adults who visit.  It takes about two hours before we run out.  Bus loads of children are dropped off in our neighborhood.  This year, Halloween angered me because of 3 boys who seem to have never heard the answer no before.

“Yes Parenting” Is Hurting Children

A few weeks back I was introduced to a new style of parenting.  The term “Yes Parenting” is pretty much the opposite of “helicopter parenting.”  In any event I think both are harmful to children.  Children need to learn from their mistakes, but also need to learn from being told no.

Today for Halloween I had Johanna handing out candy to all the trick-or-treaters.  I had her giving out two pieces of candy to each child.   I was sitting inside the door next to the candy.  3 boys came for candy which Johanna assisted.  One of them saw the bucket of candy we had.  He stepped into my home and reached in asking Johanna if he could have more.  Johanna looked at me and I said no.  He was startled because he thought he would take advantage of my daughter not realizing that I was sitting right inside of the door.  The only thing he saw was a large bucket of candy.

He made eye contact with me.  I told him no he could not have more candy as he grabbed a hand full of candy.  He asked my daughter again if he could have more thinking she would say something different, which once again I replied no more.  He took a handful, and then two more large handfuls throwing it into his pillowcase.  His two friends both came inside my home where the candy was and started throwing the candy into their pillow cases.  I told them to get out.  They began to giggle as they still were taking more candy.  I got up yelling at them to get out and they then began to run.

I’ve never yelled at anyone else children before till this day.  For some innate reason I felt violated by the fact that three children would come into my home and steal from me right while I was standing there.  I know it’s just candy, but for me it’s more than that.  All in all they stole about 1/4 of the candy, which was around $20.  It’s not all that much money, but it did mean I didn’t have as much candy to hand out to more children.  I had to turn out my lights sooner, and participate in this holiday for a shorter period of time.

About 30 minutes later the boys were walking by the house.  I overheard their conversation with other children on how they stole our candy.  We were a conversation piece, and my candy was their trophy.  A bunch of 12 year olds learned they can disrespect adult and get away with it.

These three punks weren’t even phased by my response of no.  It’s as if they were never told no before, and their only conclusion was to rebel once they heard it.  The problem I see is that I participated in some small event in their life that they will probably remember for a long time.  They were told no, they went into someone’s home, and stole a bunch of candy.  Someday that stepping stone will lead to something far worse.  Likely landing them in jail.

Now I can’t attack the entirety of “Yes Parenting” as I am not fully knowledgeable in the subject.  However, the premise is to let children to learn from their mistakes.  Where I can agree with that in parts, there still has to be some guidance to teach them wrong from right.  Children need to be told not to steal.  They need to be told not to murder.  They need to be told not to lie and not to cheat.  The consequence of letting a child learn from their mistakes can ultimately harm another person.  Stealing from me was a consequence of this child not respecting my response of no.  Who’s to say down the road, someones life taken from them is a consequence of them learning not to murder.  I know that’s a large leap, but it is a likely scenario.

I Was Raised with Consequences to My Actions and with Something Called the Bible

As a child I was told no a lot.  Pretty every response I received was no.  I was raised on the opposite extreme of yes parenting.  Luckily, I was also raised with a respect of the Bible and heavy influence of the Ten Commandments.  Respecting your parent, do not lie, do not murder, do not cheat and do not steal were a pinnacle of how I was raised.  Even if I wasn’t raised with the Bible, the same principles would still apply because the contrary of those actions are harming the freedoms of another person.  So to murder, steal, or cheat are morally wrong even in the absence of a higher being.

Since I was raised with the Ten Commandments always at the back of my hand, I still to this day remember the first time I stole.  While at a Hallmark there was some confetti sprinkled on a table display.  I took about 10 pieces of confetti and placed them in my pocket.  It was near Christmas time.  My Grandparents bought Christmas cards for me to hand out to everyone.  I placed the confetti in the cards.  To everyones surprise someone asked where I got the confetti.  They never received a response from me as I tried to change the subject.  I knew I had done something wrong.

Since that day I made an effort to never steal again.  I had been taught to not steal.  I had been taught the value of no.  I am still fallible and thus still made a mistake while young.  However, I still knew the value of what I had done wrong.

Now I know I am over reacting a bit.  Countless times I sit at a park waiting for parents to tell their child not to do something.  At restaurants where I try to have my daughter behave like a little lady, I see other children screaming their heads off without any utterance of no.  I know most don’t subscribe to “yes parenting,” and yet so many practice it without knowing.

I guess my rant is about suggesting parents value the use of the word no.  The alternative will result in negative consequences.  Consequences years from now I’ll hear parents saying “he was such a good little boy.  He wouldn’t do such a thing.”

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