• Robbin McManne

Say YES more than you say NO?

Before you think I’m crazy, let me explain what I’m thinking:

There is a general claim that kids are spoiled because of a lack of parental control. I hear how parents are judged as too permissive these days. There is no doubt that my kids are living in a more abundant time than I did as a child so I can understand this observation.

Although I understand, according to studies, children are prevented from doing something they want to do, or are made to do something they’d rather not, literally, every few minutes! Think about that and what effect that might have on their thoughts and feelings.

There are plenty of opportunities to teach our kids about limits and teach them that we don’t always get what we want, so we don’t need to add to those opportunities by saying no when we could have said yes.

ith that said, every parent has non-negotiable limits for their child(ren) and I am not suggesting you throw those out the window. What I’m suggesting is that you hold fast and true to your family values and the limits and boundaries you have established, but anything outside of that, can be negotiable.

Does saying yes a little more really hurt?

I say no…I mean yes….to saying yes!

Can we be a bit more flexible? Can we examine our rules a bit and see if they fit with our values? Can we adjust them to give our kids a bit more freedom?

I started out as a very strict parent. When my kids started getting older, I was afraid to “give them an inch” for fear they would, “take a mile”. Well, my kids aren’t diabolical masterminds (most of the time ;-) so being flexible just shows that I value my relationship with them and I want to model for them kindness and spontaneity.

I’m talking about saying yes more to small things:

A little more ice cream, to having some friends over (when I’m not thrilled about the idea), reading an extra story at night, letting them stay up late once in a while, bringing them a snack when they are watching a show (showing we do nice things for each other), having pancakes for dinner, saying yes impulsively to something I usually say no to (like another pack of pokemon cards).

But sometimes I just can’t even…

Sometimes saying yes to something means saying no to me. Like them wanting to do something that will cause a big mess or will mean a bunch of work for me which means I might lose my cool. I don’t say yes then. After all, my feelings and needs matter too!!

Here’s what I’m suggesting:

That you try not to say no too often and too unnecessarily. Before you say no, pause, do you really need this no, or can you say yes? If you can’t say yes, is there middle ground? Things don’t always have to be black or white. I can tell you from experience how good it feels to give my kids a win when they least expect it. I am always met with so much excitement and gratitude that it warms my heart. ❤️

Your no should directly relate to one of your family values. For example, your child needs to put their dirty dishes in the dishwasher because your family values cleanliness.

Your no should really mean no. Be consistent. So your child is clear on this boundary not just on when you feel like enforcing it. Your child will not always be happy to hear no but it’s important when you stay it, you hold firm. If your child throws a tantrum, don’t give in but do give empathy. Say, “yes, I hear how much you want to play the Xbox for another half an hour but we have a limit to the amount of screen time you have.” If they keep going on, keep calm and tell them, “yes, I understand how disappointed you are, I really understand.” More than anything, our kids want to be heard but that doesn’t mean we give in.

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