Yes, you may.
Children don’t get better at coping with hearing the word “no” because we deliberately impose a “firm no” sometimes. What best prepares children to deal with the “real world”, rules, limit setting, and boundaries is to feel like they have some control over their lives. Children need to feel supported, empowered, respected, and heard.
There is so much more to “yes” than just saying “yes” to activities and exploring. It’s really about meeting our children where they are, empowering them, and finding ways to embrace their natural curiosities. It’s about trusting them and their abilities. It’s about living a life where everything is a teachable moment, rather than living in fear of the “what if”.
YES – You may help me cook, I will teach you to do it safely.
YES – You may explore that outlet, I will explore it with you to keep you safe as I talk to you about the dangers.
YES – You may climb that ladder, I will be close by guiding you to do it safely if needed.
YES – You may go barefoot. I will make you aware of the risks and let you choose. I will take along some shoes in case you decide you need them so I can model compassion and empathy and grace.
When we are feeling tired and depleted, we can still find ways to say YES.
My son wanted to listen to a song at bed time. This was after reading stories, after singing, and after snuggling for several minutes. I was beat. My response – “That would be so fun. We can do that first thing in the morning. When I get up to go to my room I will get the CD out and ready to go”. Now, sometimes this is not enough. Sometimes they want to do it “right now”. Those are the times we listen, validate, and empathize.
What you will find, is that validating their needs/wants, saying yes, and following through by keeping your word will establish a level of trust between you and your children that ultimately leaves everyone feeling heard and respected.
A relationship that leaves everyone feeling like their needs are being met.
It’s not always easy.
It’s a process.
It’s a lifestyle.
It’s a paradigm shift in the way we think.
But it gets easier, becomes habit, and ultimately it’s so worth it.
So remember, nobody here has super powers, we all have days where our tanks are empty. Find ways to say YES even if its not a yes right now.
“YES – let’s plan a day to do that.”
“YES – Let’s mark that on the calendar.”
“YES – we can do it for one minute and then it’s all done.”
“YES – you may have another cookie tomorrow….let’s put it in the tomorrow jar.”
~ AK (MESE, MECD)