A common parenting chant that goes largely unquestioned is, ‘they have to learn that they can’t have what they want!’ We are told that we should teach our children this lesson from a very early age otherwise they will be spoilt and no-one will like them. What if, though, giving our children more yes’s actually provides children with more approval, acceptance, and consideration, making them feel like their parents are the providers of fun and happiness.
In life, we truly can’t always get what we want, we don’t need our loved ones to teach us that. I wake up hoping it is sunny and sometimes it isn’t. I sometimes wish I had an extra hour, or that the film I saw was funnier. Or that I was thinner, or prettier, or smarter. Many things are outside our control, but we can control how many yes’s are in our kids lives. But how do we know when to say no? Well consider why we have to. Why don’t we always say yes, or at least some form of yes. Sounds impossible but it really isn’t. Yes can come in many forms. “Yes, we can do that in 15 minutes when I’m done with this. If you’d like to help, I can be done even sooner.” “Yes, you can buy that. Let’s think up ways you could save up or earn the money.” “Yes, we can do that tomorrow morning because right now I’m about to drop from exhaustion.”
We can choose to either be our kids partner in ‘finding the yes’ and helping them get what they want in life, or we can be the barrier to it. I know which I would rather be.
About Chaley-Ann Scott
Chaley-Ann Scott is a parenting author, sociologist, counsellor, and mother-of-four. She writes widely on parenting and education for various publications, and is the author of The Shepherdess; A Guide to Mothering without Control.