A mother asked me recently, "If I said 'No' to my child for something they wanted and then changed my mind, would it come across as a weakness on my part?"

I explained that if the child has some additional information that they can provide, there is nothing wrong with the parents saying, "In light of the additional information that you have given me now..." or "In light of the changed circumstances... I will now reconsider and make the appropriate decision." Whether this decision is "yes" or "no" is irrelevant. It is a very important lesson to give a child that there is some flexibility, and that the parent doesn't always have to get their way.

This reminds me of a story I heard about a Chassidic Rebbe. People had to wait for weeks to be able to see this Rebbe and receive his blessing and advice. Twenty people at a time would enter the room, and then each would approach the Rebbe individually. One time, a person who was not on the list pushed the Rebbe's secretary aside and forced his way into the room. When he came for his turn with the Rebbe, the Rebbe said to him: "I saw the way you pushed your way through the door. As your teacher, I have a very important lesson to teach you. You don't always have to get your way. So now, please leave the room, put yourself on the list, and wait your turn to see me." The person, who had a most urgent matter to discuss with the Rebbe, was heartbroken, knowing that it would take him several weeks to see the Rebbe again.

As he walked out the door the Rebbe called him back and said to him: "Come back, my son, I will attend to you now. Because I have an even more important lesson to teach you... I, your teacher, don't have to get my way either."

We cannot teach children a lesson that they don't always have to get their way by insisting on always getting our way.