Have you ever seen (or been) an exuberant child with big dreams of building a play fort approach a parent who is quick to say “no” and watch the enthusiasm squelched right of that little guy? A 6-year-old does not grasp the explanation of why not— of the neighborhood community rules or how you can’t afford the wood for the project. A 6-year-old just yearns for a “yes!”—any “yes”—and someone to share his dream with, on whatever scale “yes” is possible.
I think sometimes parents borrow strength to feel more in control by exercising their power to say “no”. The parent who can say, “yes . . . and I’ll help you” always wields the greater influence.
Everybody likes “yes”. Why not say it whenever you can? It makes you a happier, more fun parent. It makes your kids more content. It allows them to dream and hope and not feel limited! It opens doors for them, and widens their trust, feeling that you will help them realize their heart’s desires. And it amazes me that almost every request—even outlandish, dangerous ones—can be met with a positive response!
“Mom, can we go swimming?”
“Yes! That sounds so fun! Shall we plan it for Friday when our cousins come?”
“Mom, can I start a fire?”
“Yes! Let’s get the dishes finished now, and then when Daddy comes home, we can roast marshmallows over a fire after dinner.”
“Mom, can I have a tiger?
“Yes! You can draw one and give it a name and then let’s look up all about tigers and where they live on the internet and see if one would like to move into our backyard.”
It’s all in how you approach it.
I would always rather get a “yes” answer, and so would you. Let’s give them to our kids just as often as we possibly can!