“Say yes when you can.” – Sarah Rosensweet
“I can carry it, mama!!”
Josie and her 5 year old son were walking from the post office to the car. He wanted to carry a heavy box they had just picked up.
She knew it would be easier to do it herself and she wanted to say “No, it’s too heavy.” But then she remembered that in a recent class I taught on strong-willed kids, I had advised, “Say yes whenever you can.”
So she let him carry the box.
He struggled all the way to the car but he did it! She thanked him for helping and he said, “Anytime you need help, mama– Just ask me!”
So often we say no without even thinking about it. Or we say no because we’re afraid our child can’t handle it. Or we say no because we don’t want the mess or the hassle. Or we say no just because we think our ideas are the better ones.
But Josie’s little boy gained so much when his mom let him carry the box.
He learned that his mom believes in him and trusts him to do hard things.
He gained mastery. He can do hard things!
He was able to see himself as a helpful person.
But most of all, because his mom didn’t dismiss him or his request, he learned that he is a person who matters.
All of these things will contribute to his sense of positive self-worth.
In peaceful parenting, we know that we can’t always accommodate our children’s requests, but we can always consider them.
Saying yes can be inconvenient for us or take more time or be messy, but it’s a practice that has a bigger impact on our child than we might imagine.
Saying yes helps us power struggles if we decide that we actually can say yes. (Pro tip- Before you answer, say “Let me think about that for a minute.” Train yourself to pause so you don’t say no and then have to backpedal when you realize you could have said yes.) Sometimes we might agree to things that aren’t our cup of tea but we realize it’s not actually a health or safety concern, just our preferred agenda!
Saying yes makes the necessary “No”s a little easier for our child to bear.
Saying yes shows our child that they count. It shows our child that they are important. Saying yes helps our child develop positive self-worth.
Try saying yes today and see what happens!!
Sarah Rosensweet is a certified peaceful parenting coach, speaker, and educator. She lives in Toronto with her husband and three big kids (ages 14, 17, and 20). Peaceful parenting is a non-punitive, connection-based approach that uses firm limits with lots of empathy. Sarah works one-on-one virtually with parents all over the world to help them go from frustrated and overwhelmed to, “We’ve got this!”
Read more at: www.sarahrosensweet.com