Thursday, January 15, 2004


There are days I’m convinced I have left my earthly realm and have been drop-kicked onto Planet What??? Located gob-smack in the middle of the Goofy Way Galaxy, Planet What??? is where sense is knocked senseless.  It’s the country where common logic is neither, and the homestead where heads nearly swivel off their foundations as they shake in disbelief at the stupidity at hand. 

I ran across the following item in the local newspaper about children and their television viewing habits which catapulted me right onto Planet What???

"Beyond the age of 5 or 6, kids really pick their own programs," said Robby London, the University of Michigan grad who heads DIC Entertainment. "Adults, for the most part, don't really control the sets."

For that matter, they don't even see the sets. "Fifty percent of kids have TVs in their room," Kaplan said.

What???  Adults don’t really control the sets?  Well, they do in my house. I’m the supreme ruler of the set.  I’m the despot of the dial.  Fifty percent of kids have TVs in their room?  Um, not here.  And guess what?  I not only control the television, I also control the computer, the bedtime, and all other major lifestyle decisions. 

Why?  Because I can.  Because I should.  Because I must.
Because I care.

This isn’t to say that TinyTuna never makes any decisions or doesn’t have a say in decisions that are made.  Of course she has a say.  Even if she doesn’t have a say, she will somehow manage to maneuver her way into having a say.  But having a say doesn’t necessarily mean making the decision.  And that’s the critical difference.

I’ve had plenty of discussions over the years about the use of the word “no”.  Many a child care professional has eagerly jumped on the soapbox of I-Know-It-All and pummelled me with psychological mumbo-jumbo about how saying “no” damages a child.

If I could convince people of one thing, it’s that -- when done right -- the word “no” is not a bad word.  In fact, it can be a loving, empowering word.  The trick is to learn which “no” to use and then to back it up with some reasons.
“No” means “I care.”
No, you cannot cross the street without looking.  It isn’t safe, and I don’t want you to get smooshed.  Besides, I didn’t bring a spatula to scoop you off the pavement.
“No” means “there is a better choice.”
No, you cannot wear your tie-dyed scarf  in your hair when we go to church.  You are a part of the choir, and that would really stick out.  However, you can bring it with you and wear it at lunch.”
“No” means “not this time.”
No, we are not going to see a movie.  We saw one last weekend, and today we have other things to do.
And sometimes, the sweetest “no” of all, is the “no” that just means no.  
No.  Because I said so.

Ahhhhhh.  It’s good to have the power, no?
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