Photo by D Sharon Pruitt

My friend Renee, who writes the blog Lessons From Teachers and Twits, recently struck a chord when she wrote a post about an incident where she witnessed parents kowtowing to their child’s demands. She posed the question — what kind of parent are you? Do you say YES to your child to avoid the possible unpleasant meltdowns? Do you have fear of disappointing your child? Do you think your child should always be happy?

I had replied to my friend’s post that I think that I actually have the opposite issue at hand. NO comes easily… maybe too easily. NO has often been my default answer. Until I watched Yes Man with Jim Carrey…

After loving the movie, I decided to try to answer YES more often with my kids to see what would occur. Stopping the pattern of saying NO took effort. This is what I learned from saying YES.

1) Yes took me outside to shoot hoops.

2) Yes dragged me from my computer to play Guess Who and Uno Spin.

3) Yes had me playing Guess Who and Uno Spin over and over and over.

4) Yes had me walk away from something I was doing to immediately fix whatever dilemma was at hand… homework issues, typing in website addresses, helping to look for something that went missing, buying those project materials the day they were asked for instead of waiting until the day before the project is due (note to self… do not teach children the fine art of procrastination).

I found that YES pulled me away from my little bubbles of selfish escapes found in a book or on the computer or phone and back into the lives of my kids. I didn’t overindulge them in junk food (they probably knew better than to even try), but I did  overindulge them in time with me. Connecting with one’s parents is what kids are really looking for anyway—not that extra hot dog or Barbie doll or hour of tv.

So YES did not lead me into indulging the kids in “stuff ” but it did lead me into indulging the kids in the stuff that life is really about. Say YES to connecting with your kids, but say no to that second hot dog.

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