Saying No Is Not a Bad Thing
Both things can be true is one of Kennedy’s most oft-repeated phrases. As in, I have a good kid and they’re hitting or, as she put it, “I’m allowed to say no. And my kid is allowed to be upset about it. Being upset doesn’t mean I have to change my mind. But me saying no doesn’t mean my kid has to put on a smile.”
This most often gets put into practice when you’re, say, at a toy store picking up something for a birthday party and your kids spies something they desperately need. Admittedly, said Kennedy, there are more than a few instances when she’ll just buy the damn bouncy ball. But if she has the time and space to embrace the meltdown, she views it as a learning opportunity.
“I would actually say, ‘I hear you. Two things are true: As a parent, my job is to make decisions that I think are good for you. And as a kid, your job is to allow yourself to have feelings about it. I’m allowed to make decisions, you’re allowed to be upset, and we’re gonna move on from there,'” she outlined of her go-to script. “What you’re doing there is you’re validating your right to hold a boundary, while you’re also validating your kid’s right to have a reaction. Usually, when we struggle, we’re only able to do one of those because we say, ‘I’m the parent, I get to make thje decision!’ Or we say, ‘Fine!’, and then we change our decision to make our kids happy.”