I wonder how many times parents say “no” to their kids through their lifetime.
Studies reveal that there is value in teaching kids the meaning and importance of “no.” An article in The New York Times details findings of research showing that the less children have, the more creative and resourceful they become. The more we provide children with every little thing they ask for, the more we stifle their creativity and problem-solving skills.
The ramifications of kids not taking disapproval or refusal of permission seriously are vast and deep. But, this isn’t an article about saying “no.” An excerpt from an article in CHILD magazine discusses the benefit of saying “yes” to play.
“A pay-off of active play with kids is that the more time we spend in their world, the more co-operative they’re likely to be when we want them to join our world, whether it’s a trip to the store or a visit to an aunt.”
Essentially, if we say yes to their creative, imaginative, big ideas as often as possible, when we do say “no” or need to have high expectations of their behavior, they’ll step up and meet the challenge.
I definitely want my children to bring their big ideas for the purpose of meeting a challenge. So I’m trying to say yes more often.
It goes without saying (I hope!) that I use good parenting judgement, consider safety, appropriateness, yadda yadda. I don’t passively let my kids do whatever they want. Here are some examples:
“Will you play this game with me, mama?”
“Can I watch another show?”
“Nope. Not right now.”
“Can we do that experiment again we did the other day?”
“Definitely sometime soon!”
Every time I am able to agree to something my child wants to explore, play, or learn, his face lights up. I can see confidence growing.
To add some flavor to this “yes parent” approach, I made a list of affirmative answers. Agreement and a vocabulary building lesson? Lead on!