I have a dilemma.

A parent told me her child wants a different locker.

I want to say ‘NO’.

The thing is, I try not to say no without good reason.  I think of myself as someone who does not set unnecessary limits for children.

Why do I want to say no to a change of locker?  The locker is available.

Well – None of the other children got to choose their lockers.  It is much easier to have the lockers in use grouped together. We have extremely limited time to do admin work, and I am reluctant to spend it creating new locker labels or peeling off old ones.

Those are reasons, of a sort.  But they are not very strong ones.

And my real reason, when I think about it, is that I want to say no to this child.

I am finding this child demanding.  There is difficult behaviour.  Requests are ignored.  Help is not given.  Boundaries are not respected.

I believe I should work to get the child to feel involved.  Build a strong relationship.  Praise.  Connect. Recognise strengths.  Interact. Be responsive. Create a sense of belonging.  And I am doing those things.

But I also feel a strong need to say no to this.

I want to send the message ‘you don’t get everything you want just because you say you want it’.

And I feel a need to assert hierarchy.

I want to say no so the child learns I am in charge.

I don’t like recognising this in myself.  I am conflicted. I wonder if I am wrong to feel this way.

But I still do.

4 responses to “No”

  1. Linda Tandy says :

    I totally understand what you are saying. You are human. You have the right to feel this way. We (Early Childhood Educators) are feeling responsive creatures.

    I do not believe saying no is wrong as long as the means justifies the end.

    What will the family/child learn in the end?
    Is this really a battle that needs to be fought?
    Are there better ways to teach those that needs to be taught?

    These are questions I ask myself when I come across this type of problem.

  2. Victoria says :

    I understand what you are saying. And there are some complex issues you have raised. Firstly I want to applaude your self reflection, and the way think about how you interact with this child is lovely to see!
    I would ask myself what is it in me that is resistant. If it was any other child would you be feeling just the same?
    This child is a gift to you! Look at how this child makes you feel, and address those feelings. Then look at the question of changing the locker. Do you still feel the same way. And it may be that you do, and that this is another lesson for the child. It is better that the child learn this lesson over such a small in consiquential thing as a locker. Let them have a tantrum over that. Then they will know when you say NO to the big stuff, there is a firm no!
    My children’s school has a VERY strict uniform policy. And their reasoning behind that is to let the children vent their frustration over a matter of very little consequence, rather than a “real” issue.
    I hope that makes sense…… It’s still early in the morning for me!!

  3. EmmaEmily says :

    i love that you recognise this and i have caught myself feeling the same towards a child on occasion. while i can’t add anything new to the discussion i just wanted to say a quick ‘you’re not alone!!’ haha. we are only human and we do need to show more ‘challenging’ children who’s boss SOMEHOW.

  4. Sharon says :

    Love your blog by the way. This is my first time visiting!
    I teach Kindergarten and many/most of my children have had very few limits placed upon them so I end up with a lot of down faces, tears or begging when I say no. We recently found “Pete the Cat” books that have helped with this. Things happen to Pete (walks into piles of things with his white shoes and they turn colours but does he cry “Goodness No!” ; he looses his buttons and he goes to different places in the school). The lesson basically is “It’s all good!” and we don’t cry over everything. The kids love Pete and I actually hear them echoing him when faced with problems. Love it when a book can do the teaching!
    Good luck!

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