I have observed many, many times that parents of teenagers seem reluctant to say no to their kids because they don’t want to make them angry. They just can’t tolerate having the teenagers get mad at them. I have had so many parents talk to me about this that I think that it is high time for us to talk about this. I have a lot of thoughts about this topic.
First, unless you are unusually permissive you will need to say no to your teens at times and, of course, they will get mad at you. We all tend to get mad when we feel frustrated. It is not the end of the world if and when your teens get angry at you. In fact, their anger is usually short-lived and they will likely forget that they were angry at you just two hours ago. Also, simply because they get angry at you does not mean that they will hate you forever or that you are a terrible parent.
Second, you must say no to your teens at times and tolerate their anger so that you are a good role model for them. If you always say yes to them because you are intimidated by their feelings then guess what you are teaching them? You are teaching them that in their own lives they too should agree to everything. Now, who really wants to raise a child who doesn’t have the ability to say no because they don’t want to upset others? Do you really want your daughter to have sex with every boy that requests it because she is afraid that he might get mad? Think about how powerful you are as a role model and the repercussions of what you are modeling. You also may be teaching your teenager to be a persistent and intimidating bully who gets what s/he wants by getting mad. Now, we don’t want to teach this either, right?
My suggestion is that we step up when appropriate and say no to activities that we feel might compromise our kids’ safety or are simply not appropriate. Our main goal is to keep our kids safe even if it means dealing with a little anger or even more than a little anger.