I just finished a book called Yes Mommy: The Mayhem and Madness of Not Saying No by Amy Sprenger where the author shares her account of going thirty days without saying “no”, “don’t” or “stop” to her children. The purpose was to try to lighten up a little in her parenting. She had the normal concerns that her kids would eat nothing but junk, be uncontrollable in public and possibly be injured from lack of boundaries. She did, at times, try to get around her self-imposed limitations by redirection and attempting to persuade them to make a different choice.
I have recently been evaluating my own parenting and trying to figure out how I can be more loving and encouraging to my kids. I am learning to carefully consider the reasons I am saying “no” to my children. Often it is because of my personal preference – I don’t want to put in the effort or I might be slightly inconvenienced or I’ll have more to clean up. If it isn’t a valid health or safety issue or there isn’t a time constraint, I am trying to say “yes” and the book helped remind me of the value of being open to my kids by saying “yes” to requests for activities and ideas of how to spend our time together.
My daughter is in preschool and has dressed herself for quite some time. Her fashion style is a bit eclectic, definitely different from my own. For a while I would try to convince her to change some part of her outfit so that she matched better but I realized it was only because I was concerned that others would judge me negatively for my daughter’s fashion sense. Really, what does it matter if she wears a plastic pink tiara to preschool most days? As long as her clothes are weather appropriate I’m doing my job. It is one less thing on my morning to-do list and helps her gain independence (and isn’t that a major goal of parenting?).
|My creative and confident girl|
I was an unusual dresser myself as a child. My mom said that she figured if I was teased at school for my outfits by other kids I might change how I dress but it wasn’t important enough for her to fight about with me. I have chosen to take this road with my daughter as well. Of course, I still choose outfits for pictures I’m paying for and some special occasion events, but allowing her freedom the rest of the time makes it a non-issue.
More often than not saying “yes” is just about getting over my own preferences and agenda and opening myself up to fun and meaningful experiences with the kids. And being okay with cleaning up art supplies, fake snow, sand and sweaty, dirty, happy children.