A Good Parent Needs to Know When to Say “No”


I have often doubted my parenting abilities and I was once again reminded of this yesterday. The crisp, frosty morning’s temperature was well in to the teens and I was doing my best to keep a cold from completely immobilizing me. My dog, Baxter, came up to me at the time of our daily scheduled outing and gave me a long, anticipatory stare.

“Not today, Baxter – I am not feeling that great and its way too cold outside.”

Seemingly, Baxter understands the message, walks down the hall and jumps on the bed. Ten minutes later, Baxter reappears – and gives me a stronger message by nudging my arm.

Taking a firm stand, I repeated again, “Baxter, buddy, I can’t go outside today – I’m really not up for it.” Again, as if he understands the message, he makes his way down the hall and curls up on the carpet.

Relentless – Baxter once again reappears at my side. This time, he dances a jig of joy – every part moving – not to be denied.  “Okay, Baxter, Let’s Go!”  Caving in, I retrieve the leash, bundle up and we went for our walk.

From my observations, both personally and professionally, a good parent needs to take a firm stand and keep it. In doing so, it provides the much needed structure and guidance needed for a child’s development. Giving into the child’s demands results in their having control – they end up being in charge.  And if a parent’s not careful, the child trains you – just like Baxter has trained me.

“Okay, Baxter, Let’s Go!”


About Tina Donovan

Tina Donovan, M.Ed., PC has dedicated her life both professionally and personally to improving the lives of children. From volunteering as a youth leader to developing a non-profit youth organization, her focus has been on providing opportunities to children enabling them to discover and develop their own unique talents.

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