It’s that time of year again! Unless you buy into the ‘keep it simple season’, be prepared for blood, sweat, and tears! Yes it’s a year since the last one!! Christmas – well the commercial option is not for the faint hearted. And for those of us whose hearts are constantly torn between the animal and human world, the puppy buying season leaves us like Christmas grim reapers. We are not very jolly and the sight of a puppy with a festive present bow ignites an array of complex and strong emotions that would knock McGregor out. Think more ‘NO NO NO’ than ‘HO HO HO’ that packs our mental punches!
It’s a pity we can’t instill the fear of anything in those buying from breeders for Christmas. There is no stopping some but we can keep trying. Trying is key! But can anyone shed light on the type of mind that can navigate their way past all the ‘adopt, don’t shop!’ campaigns. Selfish Stubbornness comes to mind – the kind of mentality that screams ‘no one tells me what to do’!
As a CBT Counselor I get to work with teenagers. It’s both a privilege and a source of frustration. The teenager is often not the problem. It’s the adult or adults in their lives that should be sitting in the counseling chair, and there is that big problem that comes from a small word called ‘NO’. What is it with this one word that can cause ‘worlds’ to come crashing down? Well, that is what they would like us to think if demands are not heard with a direct call to action response. This need to get ‘now’ or ‘what I want’ with no excuses allowed has literally created monsters. Deeply unhappy ones! I’ve seen polite and placid teenagers transform into selfish and insatiable beings who refuse point blank to accept ‘NO’ to any of their demands. This aggressive reaction creates another reaction in those who have to live with such behavior and the reaction is usually ‘ok so’! Give up and give in comes to mind. And hey presto begins a life time of ‘me me me’ and trust me that causes a lot of mental health problems too! Aside from the well documented contributors to poor mental health.
So when it comes to your child wanting a puppy for Christmas, switch into rational, assertive adult and say ‘NO’. Because it is often the case when you say NO to someone, you are saying YES to yourself – whilst teaching the young person in your life that we often have to wait for what we want! And sometimes what we want we can’t or shouldn’t have. Teaching acceptance and ‘get on with it’ mentality are the type of skills that will contribute to your child’s peace of mind forever.
I know a woman who made her children walk rescue dogs every weekend for a year before she gave into getting them a dog. They proved their interest and compassion for dogs and a year later they adopted their family pet.
‘No’ is the gift that lasts a lifetime when you plant the seeds early in a young mind. I’m glad my beautiful and giving mother said ‘NO’ a lot!! She even recycled our Christmas presents and how right she was! We never knew the difference really. But as they say ‘don’t try this at home’! Today’s kids might just have a wee problem with that!!
Finally, Please keep in mind all the rescues filled to capacity at this time of year. See have you space for ‘just one more’. Just to get them over the festive season.
And here’s to a simple meaningful Christmas! And if you do one thing for animals this Christmas, plaster your Facebook page with the very clear message: Adopt, don’t shop! x