Not Always No
Do you feel like you're constantly saying no to everything? That your parenting style may be creating a negative family environment?
By working towards being consistently positive and saying yes more often with your children, you can become a "yes mom" and create a more harmonious household—without letting the kids walk all over you!
Becoming a yes mom means thinking about options before automatically saying no to a child's request. Parents can purposefully make a change in their speech habits, according to Mimi Doe, author of 10 Principles for Spiritual Parenting. "If you use negative words—catch yourself. Count how many times you say don't to your children. One study estimates that the average child hears the word no or don't over 148,000 times while growing up, compared with just a few thousand yes messages," she says.
Doe adds that negative words can push the spirit out of any situation. "Of course we need to use firm words at times and alert our child to emergencies and dangers, but the habitual no's begin to eat away at a child's spirit. Moms (and dads) should say yes as much as possible, without compromising your limits. We often snap a no out of habit," she says.
Jeanie Ruban, mother of two, says she tries hard not to always say no to her kids. "It's not easy. I usually give choices and that makes them feel empowered. Around the house, I try not to say no too often when asked to play a board game or read a book. However, often times, the children haven't cleaned up their previous mess and just want to move on," Ruban says.
She adds that instead of saying, "No, we can't play Candy Land until your room is cleaned up," she has turned it around, instead saying, "Yes, we can play Candy Land just as soon as your room is cleaned."
"I know being a yes mom is better for me and better for my kids. That is why I chose to stay home to be with them, to spend time with them, to have fun, play games, and read to them," Ruban adds.
Sometimes, being a yes mom means letting other things go temporarily. "Often times when I am trying to clean the house, Sabrina will propose that we blow bubbles or do a puppet show for her baby brother . . . and she needs my help. How can I say no to that? They are so little for such a short time that I feel I need to savor every moment of fun," explains Ruban.