In the last month, I think I’ve said “no” or “not now” more than a million times. Perhaps almost a google number of times. Perhaps not so much, but it sure seems like it. No should be a boundary word, not a word for dismissal. Not a word your child hears all day long. It is so easy to get in the ‘no’ rut, especially if you’re stuck inside due to weather! Saying yes to kids may be hard at times, but sometimes it is all you need to mend a parent-child relationship.
Can we go to a friend’s house?
My most recent answer: No, I don’t know where they live (and I’m too shy to just come out and ask flat out for a playdate for the kids).
What I could have said: Let’s talk to friends at swim today and we can talk about a playdate.
Can I eat more chocolate?
My most recent answer: No, we need lunch.
What I could have said: Let’s eat lunch first and then talk about it.
Let’s watch more tv
My most recent answer: No you’ve watched enough
What I could have said: Let’s plan our tv time after we look at some projects we can do.
Let me have the laptop to play games
My most recent answer: No, you’ve had enough screen-time, go color or something.
What I could have said: Let’s make up our own game.
Friends and yes
Then a new friend we’ve met (she’s Russian with a boy just younger than my son), let us use her car/driver to head to the store today. We picked up some stuff for my son’s birthday, a few small toys and groceries. While at the Hobby Store, I had paid and V asked for another toy. It was over priced and I said “no, maybe next time.” Then she brought me another craft. I said, “sorry, buggoo, I already paid.”
We walked out and she was sad. Why was I saying NO again and again? It was more than I’d pay in the US for it, but I’m sick of saying no. So we walked back and I said “yes, let’s pick one. ”
Yes Environment for Families
I need to transition back to a “YES” environment. One where I’m not saying NO but saying, “yes after” or just giving an alternative that is acceptable. The more I say no, the
Sometimes kids need boundaries, but in these instances, it isn’t boundaries. It is really not checking out and really parenting. Giving reasons, so they understand and sometimes… just saying yes. Kids need to know their wants matter too!
For me, I need opportunities to say yes to help me make it more natural. It takes time to break old habits after all. Saying yes, builds trust, but only say YES if you can follow through. Often young kids hear “I’ll try” and think “yes it’ll happen” so also keep that in mind!
Just say no to drugs (the old D.A.R.E saying), but yes as a parent – hearing no all day as a child must get old – instead look at these opportunities to know better, make better choices, and do better.
So today, my goal is to continue saying yes to kids, even if I do have to spin what is being said!