Back in the ’80s, when I was just a lass and, according to my kids, cars had not been invented yet, there was an advertising campaign that was created to discourage our nation’s youth from partaking in illegal recreational drug use. That anti-drug initiative was called “Just Say No” and, if you were a teen in the 90’s, you remember this well.
The “Just Say No” slogan was everywhere. It was plastered across billboards on the side of major highways and was a major topic on the popular TV shows of the time. Surely you remember when Nancy Reagan appeared in Arnold’s classroom on the popular TV show, “Diff’rent Strokes”? You know the one…
Whatchu talkin’ ’bout Willis?
It is fair to say, a lot has changed in the world today. Yes, drugs are still prevalent and in many ways more dangerous. There is an opioid epidemic that is taking lives every single day and prescription drugs are more accessible than they ever have been–sadly, these things are wreaking havoc on our young people.
But today’s concerns don’t just involve drugs. Our kids are inundated with information and access to just about everything and maybe, just maybe, if we arm them with some good information, keep the lines of communication open and offer some modern ways to “just say no” then we can sleep at night knowing we have done our part and the rest is up to them.
What if instead of “no”, we offered our kids a phrase that still meant “no”, but emphasized non-judgment and reassurance that they are A-okay?
“No, thanks. I’m good.”
I think these four words are incredibly powerful and I will tell you why. Often times, kids are afraid to say “no” for fear of backlash. I believe they call that peer pressure. But, what if our kids had a way to politely decline an opportunity to do or take something that could be harmful? And further that refusal with an affirmation that they aren’t interested. Why? Because they are all good.
Our kids need guidance and an open line of communication. Many of us grew up in homes where our parents didn’t talk to us about topics like drugs and sex and whatever else made them squirm and, well, dare to be different. Force yourself to talk about the things that matter before it is too late.
Be the first person your kids talk to about the dangers of things like drugs and vaping. Role-play. Get to their level. Lighten the mood and most importantly, listen to what they have to say.
Consider these four words your kids back-to-school mantra and secret weapon for life. If we arm them with knowledge the biproduct is power. The power to say, “no thanks, I’m good.”
Godspeed on your parenting journey.