Say “Yes” To Your Kid….Then Clean Up the Mess

This weekend I realized one of the keys to being a good parent is so simple.  “Say yes more than you say no.” 

Kids ask for stuff all they time and they ask for permission, they ask you to watch them, or listen to them constantly. Learn to say yes more than you say no.

This weekend Sandor said, “Can I do an experiment?”

“Yes.” I cringed a little becomes sometimes his “experiments” mean mixing a little bit of everything in the kitchen in a bowl (including cat food and ketchup) and the result is disgusting.

This time he wanted to do something he’d seen Bill Nye do on Youtube.   “Can I empty the big bottle of Sprite into the old milk jug, fill it up with hot water then stick it in ice water?”

If we lost the Sprite I would dump two dollars worth of soda down the drain. It’s bad for us any way so I said, “Sure, go for it.  But you have to try to do it all by yourself.”

He made a huge mess, used up all the ice cubes, the Sprite went flat but he was excited about science.  It was worth the trade.

When he asks “can I pump the gas”, I know the stop for ten dollars worth of regular will take twice as long and he’ll ask me nine or forty two questions in the process but when he pumps the gas for me he…1. Feels like a man, 2. Learns to do man stuff, 3. Thinks about gas and mechanics, 4. He’s learning to be more independent.

It’s easier and quicker to say no but then he just sits in the car and learns how to drool then suck it back up real fast before I get back to the car.

When they ask if they can catch the lizard, say yes. When they ask if they can kiss it…say sure. When they ask if they can throw rocks in the mud puddle say yes, unless you are headed to church. “Can I try to eat this bowl of jello without using my hands?”  “Yes you can.”. And when they say, “Can I roll down the window and scream as loud as I can”. Say sure…then consider joining them. It actually feels really good.

I’m not suggesting it’s ok to say yes when he asks to eat Ho Ho’s for breakfast or dig up a bunch of worms then cut them all in half. As parents we have to say no sometimes. 

And sometimes I think we so “no” because it’s a reflex. We don’t actually think about the request we just understand life will be easier, cleaner and quicker if we say no….to everything. Eventually kids stop asking if they can do science experiments, they already know the answer. Instead they give up and watch tv for hours on end.

But slow down on the nos just a little.  Slow down and say ‘yes”, even though it’s going to be messy and take time. When you say” yes” your child starts to understand things, when you say “yes” they begin to understand it’s ok to ask questions, to wonder and to be curious.

Great things can happen…when you say “yes.”