Mommy Dearest,

My son has a friend whom I adore and I quite like his mum and pop, too. He often goes to their house for playdates and slumber parties and always has a good time. The boy's parents, however, refrain from using the words "no" and "don't" around their children. Instead, they choose to redirect them by asking them, "How would you prefer it?" or "What would you like to do instead?" While that may work for some kids, I am a firm believer in old school parenting where "no" and "because I said so" are staples in a parent's arsenal.

Lately, the mom has politely started hinting to me that she would rather I use other words than "no" when her child is playing at our house. I don't want the sweet boy to stop coming over for playdates, but I also don't think my parenting style should be questioned or compromised.

— Mrs. No No

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Mrs. No No,

It is impossible for all moms to agree on parenting styles, but they can certainly try to respect one another's techniques — especially when their tot's friendships are at hand. Though asking each other to change philosophies or practices is something very different. You don't question the way she runs her house and she should grant you that same respect.

In the real world, the child is going to hear the word or phrases a million times over outside of his own home — a fact I wouldn't hesitate mentioning that to the mom. You will not be the last adult to look him in the eye and say "no." Truthfully, you might be doing the lad a service by showing him that not everybody will work around him and bend to his desires. And if his mama is uncomfortable with the manner in which you speak with youngsters, perhaps she should be present to discipline, or in this case, even just talk to her child.

— Mommy Dearest

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