A Little Parenting... The "Absolutely Necessary" Rule
I once got some good parenting advice from a woman with eight children. They ranged in age from about 14 to 28 and all seemed to be intelligent, confident, NICE people. I asked her how she and her husband had managed to raise such great kids, and this is what she told me: "I only say "No" when it is absolutely necessary." I asked her what she meant by that. She said, "When my kids ask if they can do something, I ask myself: Is what they want to do morally or physically dangerous? If the answer is no, I say yes."
I've given this advice a lot of thought over the years, and tried to put it into practice whenever I can. This week, my seventeen-year-old son came to us asking if he could go out of town with his girlfriend and her family for two days. My first instinct was to say "No." Not for any particular reason, but just because it made me a little nervous and I would miss him. Then I thought about it and applied the "Absolutely Necessary Rule." I said "YES." He is a great kid. He will be well-supervised. The fact that we said yes shows him that we trust him. And, from my experience, will build our relationship more than would him moping around the house for two days while his girlfriend's family was gone.
With a different kid my answer might have been different. With my three older kids, the "Absolutely Necessary Rule" has worked wonders. They are great kids and some of my very best friends in the world. It may be Absolutely Necessary to say No more often with my three younger kids. Only time will tell...