Saying "Yes" - So They Won't know It's No
By Stephanie Olsen
Guiding Behavior for Peaceful Parenting
After this afternoon's fiasco, I've developed a new parenting
philosophy: never deny your child anything.
"Yes, darling, of course you can take drugs (after you kill
me and do away with my body)."
"Sure, dear - do start smoking! As soon as you've eaten these
three packs of menthol cigarettes..."
"Of course you can have a chocolate bar, baby. When you're
finished that broccoli, we'll walk over to the store and buy one."
"You sure can go outside honey! Once we're done picking up
your toys, we'll play on the swings together."
Keep direct negative replies at bay unless it's imperative such
as in a potentially dangerous situation. A curbside "Mommy, can I cross the
street by myself?" needs to be dealt with instantly and distinctly. Discussion
and education can take place later.
Of course, you've got to be right on the ball otherwise it's
quite possible that you may inadvertently agree to bungee-jumping directly the
vacuuming is done. If you've erred, the back-up here to is belly laugh loudly
(holding your sides for further effect), wipe your eyes and say: "My, my! I'm
just being so silly today!"
If you're in a non-critical circumstance but still need to say
"no" (such as the invariable plea to stay up a little longer), by going
sideways: "On the weekend, you can stay up till 10:00, but only if you go to
sleep right now".
By using "no" less often, it will be taken more seriously by the
kids when you do say it. In the same way, your qualified yes gives the child
what she wants ("yes, you can paint") as well as what you want ("as soon as we
put away these puzzle pieces"). Tasks assigned with your proviso should be done
together as much as possible, to keep your positive-negative positive, non?