I don't have enough fingers and toes to count how many times I tell my kids "no" a day. Am I a bad dad? I don't believe so...but maybe you have heard some of these...
"Dad - can I have some candy?" at 7:30pm at night...Uhhhhh no.
"Dad - can I light the fireplace?" No, son, I like our house.
"Dad - can I drive?" (from a 7 year old). No, son, it's illegal.
This is just a couple of the plethora of no's that come out of my mouth every day. I'm not trying to be mean. I may be over protective at times (my bad), but I want what's best for my children. However, studies show that kids shut down after many no's, which sounds good in theory, but not good for life.
So what can we do to say "yes" some more?
Have a "Yes" Jar. When I heard of this concept, I thought it was the dumbest idea ever. As far as I know this idea came from the late Karen Purvis, which if you know anything about foster care and adoption, she was the author of the The Connected Child one of the most popular books in foster care and adoption. The idea is you fill up a jar or container with little things such as tiny toys, snacks, candy, etc. and your kids can ask for these items whenever they want. When they ask, you have to say yes. When you start, it's common that your child will ask for everything right away. However, as time goes on they will realize that they spread the fun things out throughout the day, but regardless of that, they will hear "yes" from a parent multiple times a day.
The 4th Ask Theory. I was in a support group once where someone suggest a 3 and 1 theory. This one is nice, but it all depends on your child. The idea is you can say "no" up to 3 times, but then you have to say "yes". This can be dangerous as if you hold on to that 3rd no, you have no idea what the 4th ask will be. Now, obviously, you want your children to be safe, so if they ask for their 4th item and it's highly dangerous, you have to be responsible. But the idea is to really weigh what's important to say "yes" to and what to say "no" to.
Just Start. This is probably just me, but just try and say yes. As parents, especially men, we like to have control. We want to make sure everything goes as it is supposed to go and like to have our finger on pulse of everything. But do we need to say "no" to everything. I used to, and unfortunately still do, say "no" to the dumbest things. Things like Daddy, can I take my lego guy into the bath tub with me? I say no a lot of times, but only because I had to deal with a child screaming because a lego went down the drain one time. But, really??? Do I need to say no to that? This is just one ridiculous ask that I wouldn't need to say no to. Really think about what you say no to and just start saying yes.
Again, this is hard. At least it is for me. Also, you have to know you child(ren) and what they are capable of doing and what could come of your yes. But if you really dig deep at what you are saying "no" to, most of the time, it's harmless. So, I'm challenging myself and I challenge you! Let's try saying "yes" some more this week and beyond!