Shaken, Not Stirred: No means no.

September 4, 2016
Jim Bond

Jim Bond


Shaken, Not Stirred. A blog by Jim Bond.

Sponsored by Pro-Master Carpet Cleaning, 231-757-9061,

I know what you’re thinking. Sexual assault may be a topic in the future, especially considering a California law on the Governor’s desk awaiting signature. This bill would prohibit probation of anyone convicted of rape.

Today’s feature though is about the confusion in a child’s mind when you say ‘no’, and ultimately cave in, simply because you think it’s easier.

Actually, as I write this, I can see a correlation between these two topics. ‘No’ means ‘no’ in all circumstances.

But let’s get to the real point. I was sitting in an observation area of a program for children who were taking extra-curricular classes. Embedded in the curriculum is discipline and respect. I have been part of the parents’ observation area for about a year. The parents get to know each other, and the children.

So it came as no surprise when an adorable but precocious four year-old boy asked to use his mother’s phone to play a game while awaiting the next class.



“I said ‘No’!”

A few minutes later my eye caught the mother and son again. It was no shock to see the boy playing a game on his mother’s phone. She had caved in, the result of whining which I had apparently tuned out.

This is not an isolated example. A Facebook friend from Texas recently posted:

“I wish when you say ‘No,’ that means no. No arguing, no back-talk, just shut up and remember the answer was NO!!!!!!!!!!!!! Some people can’t take the word no.”

My response to her post:

“Interesting you should bring that up, as it’s the topic of a weekly rant blog I do for Mason County Press, a digital newspaper. It will appear September 4. I’m going to include your post if I may. It’ll be an anonymous reference.”

For at least a generation, this has been a ubiquitous problem. We see it in shopping centers, supermarket check-out lanes, amusement parks. It’s always the same scenario. Exchanges of asking…denying…pleading…denying…then more of the same cycle until the temper tantrum. Ah yes, the final negotiating tactic, complete with screaming and kicking. At that point I’m thinking:

“Just give the little brat the candy bar, you’ve already lost the battle. And incidentally, you’ve lost the war too.”

OK, for the record, when my older children were growing up, their mother and I started immediately.  ‘No’ means ‘no’.  And it was never an issue in the grocery store. Of course they would occasionally ask for something in the check-out line. They were told ‘no’, and that was the end of it. Period. No more questions.

My 7-year-old is the same way. He knows when I say ‘no’, I mean it.

But let’s go back about 17 years, to when my now-grown son Michael and I were in a retail store. I had made a small purchase and noticed that he was really enamored of a small little porcelain bear with a baseball bat slung over its shoulder. At age 5, Michael loved bears and he loved baseball. He asked for it, I declined. Unusual that he asked again…and again, I declined.

On the trip home, this normally chatty son of mine was rather quiet. There was no whining, no pleading. Just an abnormal quiet. I knew he was upset.

By the time I got home I started feeling a little guilty, since these children were always so accepting of ‘no’. I realized that Michael really wanted this little figurine. So, I did what any heavy-handed disciplinarian father would do. I got back in the car, drove back to the store and bought it.

He was thrilled and appreciative. But he also knew that this was an anomaly, it would probably never happen that way again.


He still has the bear. It was broken a few years ago, maybe twice. But it’s been glued back together and remains intact. He took it to college with him four years ago.

So my point is this. No, means no! Except for that one time…which will create a lifetime memory.

My other point is this. Train your child/children that ‘No, means no!’ There may come a time when, as a teen or adult, your child will disregard an answer of ‘no’, assume it is their privilege to keep pressing on, and end up in real trouble.

Have a lawyer on retainer.

Take a peek at a video that went viral a year or so ago. It’s hysterical…until you consider what this little boy may face as a result of parental Irresponsibility.

To return to the third paragraph of this story…”I can see a correlation between these two topics. ‘No’ means ‘no’ in all circumstances”.


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