Growing up in a sheltered environment, I was never allowed to experience much on my own. No helping in the kitchen, no being a part of the household chores, never straying too far from my mother, no sleepovers, no, no, no, no, no. Rarely a yes. I suppose then it shouldn’t have come as much of a shock when I turned into an 18 year old rebel! But that’s another blog post
Because of all these built up no’s and their effect on my personality, I was determined to be a YES as a mother. Let me clarify my viewpoint.
What is a YES person?
A YES person is a caregiver who allows their children to experience situations and outcomes on their own. They encourage exploring and curiosity in daily life. I will never say no to something just because I don’t feel like cleaning it up. I will say yes, because learning is more important to me than a big old mess.
I provide boundaries and limits and safe environments to explore within-but I reserve the word ‘No’ for dangerous situations.
I always hear people talking about the terrible two’s and the even worse three’s – - but I am going to have to go ahead and disagree. Can they be a challenging time? Yes. However, if we shift our stance on the challenges, and resist less, the easier a transition it will be. I have found that what makes these periods of time challenging as a parent are the constant power struggles that are being fought. This is a time when kids are beginning to branch out on their own and become independent of us. They are testing the waters and isn’t this what we want them to do? My goal as a mother is to raise a happy, healthy, kind, empathetic, successful human. Every moment X is learning from birth to adulthood is an opportunity to practice the skills I want him to possess as an adult. The more he can experience, the more confident in his abilities he will be!
There is nothing I enjoy more than watching Xavier be independent. Just yesterday he asked me to please leave the room so he could “eat with the guys”, as he sat and watched a baseball game and cut his own ham with a real knife. I was overwhelmed with joy and such a proud mama.
Natural consequences are what happen when parents don’t interfere with a learning situation. Cause and effect. I try and make use of natural consequences (NC) whenever I can. X loves to be barefoot, no matter the time of year and it seems the cold doesn’t bother him. One example of NC is when Xavier wanted to go outside in barefeet this winter:
X: Ma, I want to go out with naked piggies
Me: It’s very cold outside, Xavier
X: That ok, Ma. Pwwweeease? Really want to try it!
Me: You can try it, just let me know if you change your mind and we can put your shoes and socks ok
::::runs out back and right back in again:::::
X: Brrrrrr! Please put shoes and socks on me Ma
Boom. Parenting win right there folks. I did a few things here:
- Avoided a power struggle/argument
- Avoided being the bad guy that said NO
- Let him see for himself that it was cold outside (trust me more?)
While NC can be a great tool, it doesn’t always work and I don’t always use it. Due to his spirited nature, X is relentless when it comes to getting what he wants. Another story, a sweet treat, no nap – - and there are certain things that are not up for discussion:
- If he is in danger or if the experience would put someone else in danger
- If it involved self care or hygiene (bathing, teeth brushing, eating too many sweets)
I strongly encourage everyone to try these tactics out and see if they are a good fit for your family. It’s made life a lot more fun around here that’s for sure!