islandparent Parenting Behaviour ‘Aim for Yes’

‘Aim for Yes’

These three words could change not only how you parent, but also how your kids approach life.

More than just a path of least resistance when you’re at the end of your rope, saying yes can encourage kids’ curiosity, creativity, independence and learning.

Sure there are the rules we all need to follow—be respectful of others, clean up after yourself, brush your teeth…and maybe even floss—but other than those, if kids want to give something a try, say yes.

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Drink the bathwater? Why not?

Eat pancakes with ketchup instead of syrup? Go ahead, give it a try.

Paint a picture with nail polish? Of course!

Wear shorts in the snow? Brrr, but okay.

Saying yes doesn’t mean you’re a pushover. Just the opposite, writes Alice Boyes, PhD, in Psychology Today. If you reserve saying ‘no’ only for times when there is a good reason for it, kids come to understand that.

“If you say no because you can’t be bothered, the request is slightly inconvenient or messy, or it seems like a strange idea,” says Boyes, “then ‘no’ is more confusing. No could mean a variety of things.”

Our knee-jerk reaction can be to say no—just take a bath, don’t drink it; just paint with the watercolours, not nail polish—but then if it’s not hurting anyone, who cares?

In a study on the characteristics of families with highly creative adolescents, researchers found that the parents of so-called ordinary children had an average of six rules, like specific schedules for homework and bedtime, writes Adam Grant in The New York Times. Parents of highly creative children had an average of fewer than one rule.

“Creativity may be hard to nurture, but it’s easy to thwart,” writes Grant. By limiting rules, we encourage our kids to think for themselves. And to develop their own ethical codes.

So with 2020 winding down, and 2021 gearing up, let’s aim for yes and encourage a creative and adventurous approach to the future.

Happy Holidays and all the best in the New Year!

– Sue Fast

Speak Sing Studio