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Mom shares tear-jerking story that taught her to say 'no' to her kids a little less often

"Just because someone is young does not mean they are promised time."

saying no to kids, gentle parenting
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For a lot of parents, the word 'no' is almost a gut reaction.

For a lot of parents, the word 'no' is almost a gut reaction.

"Can we get ice cream?" "No."

"Can I stay up a little later? "No."

"Can we put on the 'Moana' soundtrack for the 40th time today?" "NO!"

It makes total sense. Kids and teenagers are constantly pushing boundaries, testing limits, and asking for things (some reasonable and some not).

Usually, as a parent, you have to shut it down.


One mom recently shared a powerful story about why — though it comes easy to us — we shouldn't always say no without thinking things through.

Rachel Ann Carpenter posted on Facebook sharing the story of her then-9-year-old daughter Nevaeh ... who wanted to dye her hair pink.

"I initially said no because I know how judgmental people can be when it comes to children with colored hair," Carpenter writes in a Facebook message. "I also figured since she was only 9 she had her whole life to change her hair if she wanted!"

So she said it. 'No.'

But then, Nevaeh had a terrible accident.

"A few days later at a camp they were doing a demonstration involving fire and something went wrong and it caught her on fire. She had horrible burns over 70% of her body. This time last year we were in the hospital with her not knowing if she was going to live or not."
Life is way to short to say NO all of the time. This time last year she asked me if she could have pink hair and I said...
Posted by Rachel Ann Carpenter on Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Nevaeh was lucky to survive the fire. And a year later, she asked again if she could dye her hair.

This time, her mom gave an emphatic "Yes!"

"Just because someone is young does not mean they are promised time," Carpenter says. "I was so glad she was still here to ask me. It is just hair, hair color will fade. Something so easy as colored hair made her extremely happy."

The story highlights a tough question for parents: Are you drawing real, important boundaries with your kids? Or just saying "no" out of fear or habit?

It's our job to protect our children from danger or grave mistakes that may severely impact their life, but we can't protect them against every scraped knee from running too fast on the playground — nor should we.

Most experts agree that taking risks, exploring, experimenting with identity, and making mistakes are all important parts of growing up. Psychologist Randy Cale tells "Psychologies" parents should aim to only step in when safety is a serious concern or when the consequences of a behavior won't be immediately apparent to them (like eating ice cream for dinner every single night).

And beyond all the child psychology, sometimes it's just more fun to say "yes."

"It is so important to let your children live a little," Carpenter says. "As adults it's easy to forget what it's like to be a child and how easy it is to make them happy."

This article originally appeared on 08.03.17

All images provided by Prudential Emerging Visionaries

Collins after being selected by Prudential Emerging Visionaries

True

A changemaker is anyone who takes creative action to solve an ongoing problem—be it in one’s own community or throughout the world.

And when it comes to creating positive change, enthusiasm and a fresh perspective can hold just as much power as years of experience. That’s why, every year, Prudential Emerging Visionaries celebrates young people for their innovative solutions to financial and societal challenges in their communities.

This national program awards 25 young leaders (ages 14-18) up to $15,000 to devote to their passion projects. Additionally, winners receive a trip to Prudential’s headquarters in Newark, New Jersey, where they receive coaching, skills development, and networking opportunities with mentors to help take their innovative solutions to the next level.

For 18-year-old Sydnie Collins, one of the 2023 winners, this meant being able to take her podcast, “Perfect Timing,” to the next level.

Since 2020, the Maryland-based teen has provided a safe platform that promotes youth positivity by giving young people the space to celebrate their achievements and combat mental health stigmas. The idea came during the height of Covid-19, when Collins recalled social media “becoming a dark space flooded with news,” which greatly affected her own anxiety and depression.

Knowing that she couldn’t be the only one feeling this way, “Perfect Timing” seemed like a valuable way to give back to her community. Over the course of 109 episodes, Collins has interviewed a wide range of guests—from other young influencers to celebrities, from innovators to nonprofit leaders—all to remind Gen Z that “their dreams are tangible.”

That mission statement has since evolved beyond creating inspiring content and has expanded to hosting events and speaking publicly at summits and workshops. One of Collins’ favorite moments so far has been raising $7,000 to take 200 underserved girls to see “The Little Mermaid” on its opening weekend, to “let them know they are enough” and that there’s an “older sister” in their corner.

Of course, as with most new projects, funding for “Perfect Timing” has come entirely out of Collins’ pocket. Thankfully, the funding she earned from being selected as a Prudential Emerging Visionary is going toward upgraded recording equipment, the support of expert producers, and skill-building classes to help her become a better host and public speaker. She’ll even be able to lease an office space that allows for a live audience.

Plus, after meeting with the 24 other Prudential Emerging Visionaries and her Prudential employee coach, who is helping her develop specific action steps to connect with her target audience, Collins has more confidence in a “grander path” for her work.

“I learned that my network could extend to multiple spaces beyond my realm of podcasting and journalism when industry leaders are willing to share their expertise, time, and financial support,” she told Upworthy. “It only takes one person to change, and two people to expand that change.”

Prudential Emerging Visionaries is currently seeking applicants for 2024. Winners may receive up to $15,000 in awards and an all-expenses-paid trip to Prudential’s headquarters with a parent or guardian, as well as ongoing coaching and skills development to grow their projects.

If you or someone you know between the ages of 14 -18 not only displays a bold vision for the future but is taking action to bring that vision to life, click here to learn more. Applications are due by Nov. 2, 2023.
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