Do you find yourself saying no to kids all the time? Christie Thomas challenges us to re-consider how to be a parent that gives a different answer to children.
If your kids are anything like mine, you get peppered with questions at all times of day.
“Can I put this paint in the freezer?”
“Can I tie this rope to the banister and swing down the stairs?”
“Can we eat outside?” (always asked when the weather is freezing cold)
“Can I do finger painting?”
“Can you jump on the trampoline with me?”
“Can we make a fort under the table?”
“Can we pile up every pillow, cushion, and blanket in the house at the bottom of the stairs and jump into it?” (aka ‘the bouncy castle’)
“Can I fill up the squirt gun?” (again, in sub-zero temperatures)
I say NO a lot. Sometimes it’s a safety or health thing, but honestly, most of the time I say NO simply because I don’t want to be inconvenienced. It might be the thought of the massive finger painting mess that will then take me longer to clean than it took to make or imagining the 10 bed sheets I’m going to have to fold back up or the thought of never sitting on my couch again. Either way, it’s an inconvenience to me. But motherhood is not about convenience. If it was, babies certainly wouldn’t be pre-baked for 9 nauseous, uncomfortable months and they would most certainly come out cleaning up their own poop.
I’m going to stop saying NO just because it’s an inconvenience to me to say YES.
Sometimes I say NO simply because I think it’s a silly question. Like when the question is “can I put this paint in the freezer?” Well duh, NO. But then I think about it. Really, what is the harm in it? There is none. What might my child learn from putting the paint in the freezer? He might learn an interesting science lesson about viscosity and freezing point. The best way for a child to learn is through play, through experience, and yes, through oddball science experiments.
I’m going to stop saying NO simply because I’m an adult and I think I know better.
That doesn’t mean I just say YES to everything. (Remember the movie, Yes Man? Crazy enough for an adult, but bad parenting for a mom with littles!) But it does mean I’m taking myself off of Mom Autopilot.
Instead of saying NO, I’m going to wait. If they pester, I’m going to say “let me think about it” or “wait for a minute”. That gives me a chance to actually think about the question and whether or not is a reasonable request for a small child to make.
If so, the answer is going to be “yes sweetie, you can.”
Christie’s show, “Influencing My World” on HopeStreamRadio, shares her passion to help families cultivate authentic faith in their homes from lessons learned raising her own young boys, and life as she meets it daily.
If you have enjoyed reading this post and wish to send us a comment or share a prayer request, please don’t hesitate to contact us and let us know.
Images courtesy of:
Girl & Boy – lenkafortelna
Boy – ambermb
Girl – Nicooo
No – GDJ