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Online Articles

Please say, “No”

Dr. Joseph D. Noshpitz, in his book entitled Children’s House, writes about the problem created by parents who are afraid to tell their children “No.”  We are reminded of the statement found in 1 Kings 1:6 concerning king David’s treatment of his son, Adonijah: “And his father had not displeased him at any time in saying, ‘Why hast thou done so?’ ”

It is interesting to note Dr. Noshpitz’s division of such parents into four categories:

1. Those who cannot say “No” to themselves in matters of smoking, drinking, dieting, buying, gambling, etc.  They resent it whenever anyone tells them “No,” so they assume their children will feel the same way.

2. Those who are afraid of losing their child’s love. They misunderstand the proper role of discipline.  Dr. Noshpitz points out that there is a “peculiar similarity between the child who is deprived and the one who is over gratified.”  Often both of these types of children will come out of such early childhood experiences “feeling cheated, angry and bitter.”

3.  The intellectual parents who are full of psychological theory and worry lest they frustrate their children.  Their children often react with arrogance, violence, impulsivity and temper tantrums.

4.  Those who enjoy watching their children act up.  They consider

such behavior as “cute” and do not want to curtail the child’s individuality, talents or spontaneity.  But in all of this, they are failing to teach the child self-discipline, an important part of character development.

Finally, consider the following statements from the Dr. Noshpitz’s book:

“Sometimes one has the impression that the child is practically begging and pleading for the adult to act like an adult, to step into the situation and say, ‘No, and that’s it, no more discussion!’ . . . but he cannot get the parents to cooperate.”

“The child who has everything done for him, given to him, and forgiven him is a deprived child.  A home that has no taboos, makes no demands, requires no politeness or conformity, that sets no firm rules and limits is a home that is unhealthy.”

It is refreshing to hear a recognized authority express himself in a way that is in harmony with the clear teaching of the Bible.  Many parents learned only too late that the permissiveness popularized by Dr. Spock and others was a dismal failure.

Leonard White