Monday, May 17, 2010

Making Promises You Can't Keep

Children have many requests and demands concerning things they would like to have, places they'd like to go, and what they would like to do. Sometimes parents make the mistake of saying "yes" to their children without thinking it through, perhaps to put the child off or because they feel bad saying "no." Practice saying "Let me think about that." This will give you time to consider all the possibilities so you can make a wise decision, and it will help your children learn patience while they wait for your decision. Be sure to show your children that their requests are important to you by remembering to give them an answer. "Let me think about it" does not mean "Hopefully you'll forget."

If your child wants something you can't afford, then discuss what alternatives are available. Include your child in the discussion. If your child wants to go visit someone or go somewhere special, check out all of the possibilities first before making a decision.

"Your children depend on you to be truthful," says Linda Jacobs. "They would rather be told the truth than a lie. To children, a broken promise is a lie. Children will remember those broken promises and their trust of you will be diminished."

When your children are older, they will remember they were important and that you took time to evaluate their requests. You will have built a solid foundation for them to be able to trust others.

"Above all, my brothers, do not swear—not by heaven or by earth or by anything else. Let your 'Yes' be yes, and your 'No,' no, or you will be condemned" (James 5:12).

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