Lessons from my children: On saying ‘No’

Since beginning my love affair with Instagram just a few short months ago, I have become more aware of the world around me. This afternoon on my walk, I noticed that the sun glancing out from behind the hills onto a tree cast it into a perfect silhouette.

We can learn as much from our children as we can from them. Today's lesson from my child: On saying 'No'.

As I stood there for a few moments, committing the beautiful view to memory and to camera, it crossed my mind that the structure of the trunk, branches and twigs were reminiscent of the skeleton of a leaf.

The tree follows a tried and tested structure that it knows to be strong and effective as it has been tested on a much smaller scale. Like the tree, I too have so much to learn from the smaller members of my family.

I have written before about the irony that parents of siblings say they treat both of their children the same. My two girls each had a very different start in life due to changes in our personal circumstances. And I genuinely believe that the differing lives they have led has resulted in them each having very different personalities.

Libby is a lovely, happy, gentle little girl. She is always eager to please and loves to be praised. When we speak to the staff at her nursery, they always tell us how well behaved and polite she is. She is a joy to be around in every way.

Lia on the other hand is a tiny girl with a massive personality. She is a cheeky monster who knows her own mind. She is generally very well behaved, adores her big sister, has a laugh with her dad and is totally attached to me.

And with Lia’s feisty personality, comes a trait that I could learn so much from. Whenever she is asked to do something she doesn’t want to do, she just says no. There are no tears, tantrums or negotiation. Just a resounding and unshakeable no.

I am aware that as she gets older, this is going to be tough going for me as a parent. How will I cope with a teenager who will not be swayed for all the negotiation in the world? But despite this concern, I am so proud of Lia’s attitude and I hope she never changes.

It is so easy to get swept up in life, trying to please everyone. Saying yes to every request, adjusting your own methods and beliefs to to fit in with others. Complying, doing as you are told instead of what is right.

Getting up when the alarm goes off, going to school, going to work. Following the rules, the procedures and the fashions. Never questioning, putting everyone else first, never thinking for yourself in case it is frowned upon.

So little girl, my sweet, fiery, cheeky, happy little daughter. Never stop saying no. Never stop bucking the trend, wearing a hat indoors or running around outside in bare feet. Keep on thinking for yourself because all the best ideas come from people who don’t follow the crowd.

However much grief you get from me, your dad, your sister, your friends and society, keep on being you. An individual with dreams, goals and ambitions. Keep leading the way, always setting trends and never following them. Keep doing what is right instead of what is expected. Keep saying no.

We can learn so much from the next generation, like saying no.



  1. March 21, 2016 / 12:27 am

    Love the individuality that each sibling has. My two are the same and actually when you mention it, they both had very different starts.
    We work on a level of consent. If they’re unhappy with something and want to say no, then they have every right to. And for the most part it works. William tends to be the one who can use empathy and relate that to a yes more than James. That being said I think I should take a leaf out of the no book and say it more! You’re quite right that it’s easy to be swept up in life and caught saying yes more than it can be worth at times!

  2. March 21, 2016 / 7:43 am

    How adorable that your youngest is feisty and knows exactly what she wants from life at such a young age! My daughters were born one minute apart and are so very different in personality. They have been treated the same throughout childhood, so I guess it has to be nature, not nurture that’s responsible.

  3. March 21, 2016 / 8:51 am

    What a lovely post and so very true! I think we could all learn a lot from your feisty little girl! X

  4. March 22, 2016 / 10:22 pm

    Lovely to hear about how different your girls are and how feisty Lia is. There’s a lot to be said for knowing your own mind and not being afraid to say no.

  5. March 23, 2016 / 12:04 am

    Love this! It’s definitely an admirable quality, being able to stand your own ground and say no. Although it’s not easy for a parent to deal with. My A is very similar! 🙂 x

  6. March 23, 2016 / 8:39 pm

    What a really beautiful post. And you are so right – wish I could stick up for myself more, and say no a lot more.

  7. March 24, 2016 / 6:56 pm

    Hi Natalie, I love taking photos of the silhouettes of trees too, I’m sure people think I’m barmy!

    I bet Lia pushes you to your limits with the word ‘no’, but I hear where you are coming from. Being able to say ‘no’, is a a gift I’m sure. My daughter can say no without swaying too, if she doesn’t want to do something she won’t be swayed, which I like as she is the same with her friends and won’t be lead.

    It’s a tough world out there and knowing how to say ‘no’, can be a sanity saver.


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