A long time ago I attended a conference that was specifically for adoptive parents. If my memory is correct it was an Empowered to Connect conference and I believe that the guru of adoption healing, Dr. Karyn Purvis, said what I have remembered well into my fourth year of parenting children from hurt places.
She was talking about making our no’s count. You see so often as parents we have to say NO to a lot of things. Sometimes we say no because their request will put our children in danger. I have yet to let my kids walk to the park in our neighborhood by themselves. They might think I’m being mean, but this is a no that I will stand by. It’s not safe for them.
Sometimes we say no because it’s just not a good time. When Story wants to start an art project 10 minutes before bedtime I say no because it’s not good timing. I try and find an alternative to her request and make it happen, but at that time I’m giving her a firm no.
Other times we as parents say no because it’s just easier. You don’t want to stop what you are doing. You don’t think it would be fun for them. Saying yes would put more work on you. No. No. No.
I have felt myself sometimes saying no before I even finish hearing their thought on what they want. The fact that sometimes my natural response is a flat out no frustrates me when I truly think about it.
Dr. Purvis taught us that we should say yes as often as possible. Our parenting should be full of way more yes’s than no’s, so that when we do give our children a NO, it matters. It’s not our first reaction. Our children know that NO means it must be serious. I want to say yes to my kids asking for gum 953 times a day, so that when they ask for ice cream instead of dinner, that my no counts for something, and they have heard yes a lot more during the day about stuff that’s not as big of a deal in life.
A few weeks ago Deacon and Story found an old packet of hot chocolate in the pantry and brought their request towards me as I was making dinner. Please they asked, probably certain there’s no way I would say yes. You see, I have a hard time saying yes to things like this. It’s almost dinner time. It’s full of sugar. Amos won’t even like it. You’ll stay up too late. La la la la la. The same reasons for everything.
In that moment I thought this deserves a yes. Why not? Of course it’s a little out of our routine, but it’ll be so fun for them. It’s just one packet of hot chocolate distributed four ways. Well actually three because I knew Amos wouldn’t like it. What’s the big deal?
I said yes.
I did it.
The kids were ecstatic, and I was reminded that I need to give out more yes’s to my babies. I need to have a house where our no’s are serious and taken at their word because it’s not the same response we give to everything.
Moms, this week as you are parenting, think about how you can be more of a yes mom. This isn’t a mom that does whatever her kids want and gets run over by them, but it’s a mom that has no’s that are serious, and yes’s that come way more frequently.