“May I have some candy?” NO! “May I watch TV?” NO! “May I have a pb&J Sandwich for Dinner?” NO! WHY NOT!!!! What is preventing you from giving your kids a yes?
I recently had the privilege of taking a parenting class for parents who are parenting children from hard places aka parents of adopted children, known as Empowered to Connect. The information given in this class is from the book The Connected Child written by Karen Purvis. To say that the information I was given in this class was wall breaking, is saying the very least. As a mother of both biological and adopted children, I feel like this information should be given to every parent, because let’s just face it, we all come from hard places. Being birthed alone is traumatizing and hard for an infant.
While taking this class, we were given different parenting tools to try and explore, one of the tools that impacted and knocked down so many bricks in a wall I didn’t even know I had built, was a day of yes.
Many times, we think as parents we have to provide structure and protect our children from this big bad world. While this is true, it is also important to connect with our children and build a secure attachment with them. One of the ways to achieve this goal is allowing your children the opportunity to learn they can talk to you, but more importantly trust you. Saying yes to our children could provide them space to not be afraid to come to us in difficult times and ask hard questions, because they know you will answer reasonably and fairly. They learn how to accept no better and with ease. They begin to understand the whys behind the yes and no. If you are a parent that constantly says no to your children, you risk the possibility of them shutting down and shutting you out as they get older. No does not provide opportunities for experiences, growth, or connection.
For me, this day of yes seemed daunting, I mean I have 9 children at home 8 of them can talk and ask for things. My initial thought was this could and probably will get out of control, they are going to suck me dry. What I found, is that my bigger kids had become so complacent with me saying no they hardly ask for anything. My oldest at home, didn’t ask for anything, and my younger ones while they asked for things constantly; their request were fairly reasonable and within acceptable boundaries. If this was the norm, why was my go to usually no?
I found, I typically say no out of pure convenience and selfishness. Not only was it easier for me to say no, but sometimes I simply didn’t want to share or stop doing what I was doing to say yes. Examples? Well, on our yes day I fixed a nice breakfast for the kids as they ate breakfast and I proceeded to sit down at the computer to do a little prep for the remainder of the day. My 4 year comes to me and says can I have an orange? Now my go to would have been no eat breakfast. It’s an orange people! Relatively healthy and again an orange. Not a bag of chips or piece of candy. I said yes, he was ecstatic, he did a little happy dance as we went into the kitchen so I could peel his orange. As I analyzed the situation, I realized I wanted to say no because I didn’t want to stop what I was doing and get up to go peel an orange. Now there are times I would have said not right now, when I finish this, in a minute, etc etc. These are all acceptable, however, many times it’s just easier to say no. No is final! I don’t have to hear now can I have one, are you done yet, is it a minute, blah blah blah. However, yes is final too! It took me all of 30 seconds to peel the orange and he was happy and content and I could go back to what I was doing and actually get it finished. Yes was better than no. Another example, I will usually treat myself to chick fil a once a week. It’s my treat just for me no one else. I came home with my Arnold Palmer and set it down. I only had a few sips left.a few min later here comes my 5 year old can I have this mommy? My gut turned into knots as my lips started to form no, that’s mine. (I mean can’t this mommy have anything to herself.) That’s what would have went through my mind. Instead I formed a smile on my face and said yes. Her eyes lit up and she drank the last few swallows. She was a happy girl. In my self analyzing, I realized sometimes, ok most times, I don’t like to share. Had my cup been full I may have been more likely to fail this yes, but the reality is I could have easily poured her some in a little cup and we both would have been happy. Win win.
When you have multiple children, you are bombarded with questions all day long. And saying yes to all of them all of the time isn’t realistic nor healthy parenting, however, taking a moment to discern can I say yes to this is what’s important. Understanding the why behind your No.
My challenge to you is to pick a day and on that day say yes to your child/children (within reason)for an entire day. You don’t want your child being put in harms way, so please use discernment and common sense. Push yourself beyond your limits and say yes to as much as possible. No matter how bad you may want to say no, if you can say yes, say yes! While doing this challenge, keep track of your feelings and emotions. Remember it’s only for one day! A day of yes is an opportunity for you to not only build a stronger bond with your children, but it also provides you with an opportunity to understand yourself and why you parent the way you do. Saying yes can be enlighting as well as freeing. It opens up doors that you may have never knocked on let alone set foot in. It provides you with the chance to grow beyond your comfort zone, and what happens when we grow beyond our comfort zone? Walls come tumbling down! So, get to it…. Happy Yessing!!