“I want to be a yes parent”, I told Pablo one day.
He gave me a weird look.
“So basically you want to say yes to everything? ‘Hey mom, can I play in the road?’ ‘Yes honey!’ ‘Hey mom, can I stay out all night and get a tattoo?’ ‘Go for it sweetie!'”
Ha! I could see a little clarification was in order.
So what did I mean?
By “yes-parent” I mean this: I want to be a parent, a mom, who’s first reaction is to want to say yes.
For me, saying no is often the lazy response. It doesn’t require much thinking or any doing. You just say “no” and continue on. Easy peasy. Haha.
In the stage of life I’m in now it often involves silly little things. For instance, when I’m loading the kids in the car Caleb loves to climb in through the front door and climb over my seat to the back where his car seat is. I caught myself telling him no the other day. Why? Because I didn’t feel like waiting. Was there somewhere important I needed to be? Some reason I needed to hurry? No, not at all. There was absolutely no reason I couldn’t wait one more minute to let him enjoy climbing over the seat.
It’s just so easy to automatically say no to things.
Maybe that’s because moms have to say no to a lot of things, especially in the stage of life with little people. “No don’t eat that rock/coin/bug/(insert gross or dangerous object here)”, “no, please don’t throw your food”, “no don’t even think about jumping from the top step”, etc… Sometimes when you’re saying no all day it’s easy for no to slip out without even thinking it through.
Am I making any sense? I hope so. This blog post has been mulling around in my mind for quite awhile but it’s been hard for me to verbalize it (or whatever the word is for typing out thoughts!) Haha anyway…
So yes, I want to work to be a yes parent. I want to say yes to as many things as I can. I want to stop, and think, and see how I can make that request happen. Basically, I don’t want no to be my default.
Am I naive? Perhaps. After all, my kids are ages two and under right now. Parenting is pretty new to me and involves a lot of philosophizing without many years of practice under my belt.
Naive or not though, I don’t think it’s a bad ambition. As my kids get older, I want them to know that I will honestly think through whatever is in question instead of assuming that my first answer will be no.
I don’t want no to be my default.
As a Christian though I need to ask myself if this is a Biblical attitude to have. Obviously, it’s my job to try to guide my children in the ways of the Lord and that will require saying no to some things. Ok, maybe a lot of things. What I mean though by being a yes-parent is not that I will never say no, but that I won’t automatically say no just because it’s the easy answer.
The Bible tells us not to provoke our children to wrath. In fact, the only two verses in the New Testament with specific commands regarding parenting (Ephesians 6:4 and Colossians 3:21) both give us this command. Is there a quicker way to provoke my kids than to tell them no based on nothing more than how I feel at the moment or my personal preferences? Hmm I doubt it.
So, being a yes parent. How does that work practically?
Right now saying yes more means that sometimes I need to be willing to slow down. Be more patient, less selfish.
If I can’t say yes, can I think of an alternative to the request instead of just saying no?
And when my kids are older? Basically, I want to say “ok, this is your request. Let’s talk about it. Let’s see if we can make it work. If there’s a problem, let’s discuss why it’s a problem. Let’s see if we can change something to still make it work, or do something else that would still be fun. Let’s talk, and I want to say yes if I can.”
What are your thoughts about being a “yes parent”? Do you agree? Do you think I’m being too idealistic? If you’re a parent with a few more years of experience I’d especially love to hear from you so please comment below!!
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