Friday, March 26, 2010

Learning to Say Yes

Posted by Mandy at 10:59 AM
Have you ever heard a piece of parenting advice that made you have that light bulb moment? Or the "duh" moment as I like to call it.

I had this happen to me several years ago. It was the most simple idea ever - but one I probably would have never thought of on my own, or realized that I even needed to think of. It came from a video series I watched by Kevin Leman called Making Children Mind Without Losing Yours. (FYI: great series!!)

Ready for the tidbit?

"Learn to say yes more often."

Simple, right? I know... that's what I thought, too.

He gave a great example of his teenaged daughter asking at the dinner table one night,

"Dad, could we maybe go look at cars tomorrow?"

He said that he had no intention of buying her car, but he said, "Sure! We can go look."

How many of you are like me and would've immediately said, "No... I'm NOT buying you a car right now," without giving it a second thought? The idea of agreeing to just go look, like she asked, was like a brand new language to me. It got me thinking about how often I probably tell my kids no, when a yes could have easily been used.

So, this little bit of information is something that I've strived to do in my parenting. I really try to listen to what the question is, what it means, and figure out if a 'no' is really necessary.

"Can we look at the toys when we go to Walmart?"
"Yes, but we won't buy any and we can only spend about 5 minutes looking because we have other errands to run today."

Amazingly - we've done this many, many times and it works wonders! They love to just look, and thankfully they accept that we are not taking anything home with us. We can come back and look at it again next time.

"Can we blow bubbles in the kitchen?"
"Umm.. yes.... but only if you clean up ALL of the mess when you're done."

This is something I'd likely usually say no to in the past. I HATE mess like this. If they couldn't go outside for some reason and could only use them in the house... I'm not too sure I'd have let them several years ago. But, now, they understand that if they choose to play with something messy - then they have lots of mess to clean up. So, it works out well and, hey, it is a great way to get your floors cleaned.

These are just two easy examples of our real-life "learning to say yes more" experience. Focusing on this over the years has opened my eyes to how often I say no to them for nonsense reasons. Saying 'no' to kids a lot can really build frustration in them and lead to sneaky behaviors.
 "I didn't ask because I knew you'd say no.."
(now, sometimes they might be doing stuff they shouldn't and OF COURSE you'd say no... not what I'm talking about here.)

My favorite new phrase with the kids getting older is,
"Yes, if you can do it yourself." (or get it yourself)

This would be for times I'm exhausted and trying to sit on the couch and be brainless for 20 minutes and they decide they want to make a PlayDoh picnic. Fine.. but only if you can do it without any assistance from your lazy mom. And, clean it all up..

Do you find yourself saying no a lot without thinking like I did?


Reagan on Friday, 26 March, 2010 said...

I feel like I say no a lot. I recently went to a baby shower where we were giving advice and someone said this:

Say yes as much as possible.
Say maybe if you don't know.
Say no only if you mean it enough to follow through.

Simple but it was an aha moment for me!

I like your suggestions and I'm gonna try to say yes more this weekend!

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