Family • Wellbeing • Adventure

Saturday, 5 August 2017

Start saying "Yes" to your child today

The holidays are well and truly in full swing and I may be sat in bed full of cold - but we've made so many happy memories already. You may have read in my previous post, that I have been struggling with my anxiety a lot recently. My anxiety was most definitely in the driving seat and even affecting how I parent. I felt like I was saying "no" all the time, uptight, stressed and snapping at everything, even mindfulness wasn't helping. So taking the steps that I have, I now feel like I'm on the right path and feel like I'm becoming a little bit calmer as a parent.

This week we've been on a fair few walks, getting out in the fresh air is something that really makes me feel good and my kids are always happiest when they're exploring too. Whilst on our walk we came across some very large muddy puddles. Ordinarily, these muddy puddles would've have been avoided. I wouldn't have wanted to deal with the potential aftermath and so would always make detours or make sure the I had a tight grip of my children's hands.

That day I let go, I let them head straight for those puddles. My husband and I stood back and watched them, literally test the waters. Gentle wading and careful splashes soon turned into full ofn leaps with splashes that left them literally soaked. To see the pure joy on their faces was totally worth the cleanup and laundry that followed. We may have got some funny looks when we were cleaning up our two mud covered children - but it didn't matter. This is what childhood is all about and sometimes we're guilty of forgetting this. Plus I managed to get some wicked action shots!

I'm trying to make sure I remember this day, that it's ok to let go and say "yes". That they don't need to be clean or play quietly - that they need this freedom just as much as me.

Reasons why you should say 'yes' to your children today.

If your children are anything like mine, they ask for things 300 times an hour. When we hit the shops and they see a toy, they instantly ask "can I have this please mummy?", I'm usually going to always say "no". Now they don't moan (normally) but it does end any dialogue between me and them. Now instead of saying "no", how about saying "yes, but.." You could say that if they feel they really wanted/needed the toy then perhaps they could pay for it with their pocket money. Or perhaps, they feel they want to save their money for something a little more exciting. If they decided to spend that money on this toy and then they end up not playing with it, then it's a lesson. You can highlight this as a possibility and perhaps they will come to the decision that it's not a wise idea to spend money on the first thing we lay our eyes on. When you say "no" to a child's request, it immediately breaks down communication. There is nothing left to discuss and so there is little opportunity for learning or growth to take place. Sometimes, "no" is completely necessary, don't get me wrong, but other times, it’s best to turn the request back on the child to find a solution, so they then have ownership in the decision.

“Helicopter parenting” has always traditionally been frowned upon as` it robs children of any decision making. Remember the saying "we learn from our mistakes"? - well, that is something I personally live by and I try not to beat myself up too much over past mistakes.  Now, I have to admit - I am somewhat of a "helicopter parent", I struggle to let them play freely at the park, I'm always worrying one of them will fall or they'll run into a swing, but I'm starting to let my children navigate the playground a little more freely, especially now they're getting older.

Allowing your child to have more of a say in decision-making processes you're then seen as a partner as opposed to as a barrier, creating a better relationship between parent and child. Whilst some may be sat reading this shouting at their screen that I am perhaps going to create a "spoilt child", here's some food for thought... The idea behind the strategy is to be creative when you're trying to get the child to be the one to say “no” to a situation. As parents, it hurts when our children suffer consequences and but in reality, we're trying to prepare them for the "real world", So in any “yes, but…” situation, it’s essential for the child to own the process and outcomes. This teaches responsibility at an early age, avoiding the creation of a spoiled and entitled adult - something which I fear is becoming the norm in today's society. 

So instead of constantly saying "no" as my first answer, I'm going to try and open more of a dialogue with my kids. Plus I'm sick of hearing myself say "no" all day long!

Mummy B xoxox

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