Focus: One at a Time

focus- one at a time - The Classical Unschooler

When I wrote this post about the power and necessity of a healthy dose of the negative, I began to think seriously about how saying “no” consistently affects specific personalities and why sometimes we (me included) are so averse to using that dreaded n-word.

My biggest fear in telling my children “no” is that they will assume I don’t love them. That seems to be the biggest fear in any kind of discipline, period.

I hate saying “no” to myself often enough until I remind myself consciously that one of God’s first commands was “Do NOT.” Also eight out of the Ten Commandments are essentially nos. But I firmly believe that God loves His people. Then why the abundance of nos?

I’m beginning to learn that certain personalities do react differently to being told to wait, or being told that they cannot have something. Some people need more time to learn to bend their will to what is good and others learn quicker. I happen to be one of those people who don’t react well to a “no.”

But in learning to manage time and money effectively, I have begun to have a better appreciation for negation as well as affirmation. Sometimes, it is necessary to show them why the no exists. This is how it is and you must obey doesn’t work well for too long. Either through consequences or through their own learning (and I would argue that parents use discipline as a way to hurry up learning of the natural moral consequences the children will suffer anyway) they must be shown why they need to mind.

When I have to refuse to do something that I really want to do, I use this technique: I emphasize one yes and one no at a time. If I want to change certain behavior, it helps to bring it down to its very basic essence. My current “no” battle is disciplining my children without raising my voice. My current “yes” battle is writing this blog and e-book. That’s it.

Everything else is currently on the back-burner.

It’s important to do just the same but if I have managed to do just these two things, I’ve won the day. I realize this is not always possible. Things intervene that must be dealt with and can throw us off but by and large this technique works. And it especially works with the children.

They each have a “no” battle and a “yes” battle currently. It’s on our calendar, our fridge and in constantly in the front of our minds as we discipline them. As long as there is focus, it is unlikely they think we’re being overly critical or that we don’t love them.

As long as there is one focused no and one focused yes, the rest of the time is free to shower them (and each other) with all the affection we need and want to give.

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Author: Purva Brown

Writer / blogger at – unapologetically blending two seeming opposites.

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