Often as parents, we’re taught the art of saying “no” to our kids. It helps raise children who are less entitled and who understand that they don’t always get what they want. While I love the idea of my little girl growing into a young woman that earns the things she has, I didn’t want to end up a militant robot to whom she could not come. So it got me thinking…
What about the art of saying “yes”?
A little over a year ago, I was having issues with Bee. She was extremely argumentative. She fought me on everything. She was crabby and I was exhausted. I read an article on strong-willed children and building their confidence for better relationships. It suggested saying “yes” more often to your strong-willed child, and that it would boost their confidence in the choices they made and in themselves.
So, I said “yes” for a whole weekend.
I didn’t tell Bee the plan. We woke up that morning, and the first thing she asked for was spaghetti for breakfast. Cringing on the inside, I remembered the promise I made. I would say yes to everything. So, we had spaghetti and garlic bread for breakfast. She then wanted to walk around the neighborhood, so we did. It started drizzling, so she asked to go home and take a bath with a bath bomb. Yes. She asked to use the special bath bomb I’d been saving for myself for the most stressful of days…yes.
After bathtime, she wanted to see the new Spiderman movie, so I said yes. This is the best part; the one I remember the most. I checked movie times and drove us to the theater. We got our tickets, and she looked at the concession stand. She wanted a drink, popcorn and M&Ms. So this yes-saying momma got them! As we sat in our comfy reclining seats, she asked to sit with me, looking at me with her big hazel/grey eyes and said, “Mommy, can we put the M&Ms in the popcorn?”
I never thought I’d do anything like that, but I did, and it was delicious! We watched our movie, and when we walked out of the theater, it was pouring rain. I’m talking tsunami, monsoon, torrential downpour raining. Wouldn’t you know, my sweet little girl looked up at me with bright eyes and whispered, “Mommy, can we go and dance in the rain?”
Nine words that changed my life y’all.
Anyone who knows me, knows that I am not the nature girl. Sweat isn’t my thing. Rain isn’t either. I’m a girl that gets blowouts weekly because she doesn’t wear her hair naturally curly, and a girl that spends more money on makeup than anyone should. #NoShame
But, by golly those little eyes, those lips forming such sweet words, and the batting of her eyelashes. So, I asked an older woman next to us to watch my purse and I let my daughter drag me out into the rain. As I stood there, arms spread, staring up at the sky, hearing her giggles and splashing around me, I knew in that moment that I would be okay in this parenting journey. When we got home, we continued to play in the rain and splash in puddles, followed by a warm bath, dressing up, an impromptu photo shoot and dim sum for dinner!
In the days that followed, Bee was different, as was I. I found that I could actually say yes to more things and whenever I did say no, she would simply follow along and find something else to do — no fighting. By doing what she wanted, a weight of stress seemed to be lifted off her tiny shoulders and she seemed so much happier, agreeable, and relaxed.
I couldn’t believe it. I never wanted to be one of those moms that just said yes to whatever and didn’t instill delayed gratification in their kid. Yet, by giving into her whims, I found I was happier and she was more willing to listen to me, just as I had listened to her. It was one of the most insane dynamics I had ever experienced with a little person and so fulfilling and uplifting! Sometimes our little ones just need to be said yes to.
Here are a few rules for a “yes” weekend:
- Do not tell your child your plan of saying yes to everything.
- Only do with one child at a time (multiple kids that you’re saying yes to can get overwhelming).
- Make this day one where you have absolutely no plans of your own. This day is dedicated solely to your little one and the things they ask for.
- Have an open mind. By saying yes, you’ll find yourself doing things outside of your comfort zone. Uncomfortability leads to change and growth. Embrace that awkward feeling.
- Calories don’t count on these days.