There are more than enough opportunities for learning to deal with limits, for confronting the fact that it’s impossible to get everything one wants. Kid’s don’t need parent’s to add to those occasions by saying no when they could have said yes. A. Kohn, Unconditional Parenting
As parents, we try as much as we can to say “yes” to our children. After all, they live in such a constricted world that is not set up for them but rather boring, safety extreme conscious adults. “Don’t do that”, “No, it makes too much mess”, “Get down!”, “Be careful”, “Stop”, “Be quiet, you’re too noisy” are things most children hear everyday. So to try and counteract that (because I say these things too sometimes) by trying to say “yes” to their requests as much and as appropriately as possible.
I hope that our home is set up in a way that enables all our children to accomplish tasks and be creative as soon as the need arises. Toys and materials are available within child reach that they are currently showing an interest in so they can access these whenever they want. Sometimes though, a big painting or crafting session is called for and I feel unjustified to say “no” to this even though I know that it is going to make a mess bigger than they can clean up on their own.
Joseph often has elaborate craft ideas that he takes a lot of time thinking about and planning and at the time are very important to him. Who am I to take this importance away from him by declaring that he can’t get the glue out because it’s too messy? This doesn’t come easy, I have to admit and it is something I work on most days. I try to say “yes” as much as possible because it is their home too and I for one would feel incredibly restricted if my wishes were constantly prohibited.
Alfie Kohn in his book Unconditional Parenting states, “Don’t say no if you don’t absolutely have to. And try to think about the reason for everything you say.” Which is what we try to do in our house, if we can’t say yes we tell them why instead of just a blanket “no” or a “because I said so”. They deserve that respect and to feel as though they’ve been heard. Painting pleas, for example, can sometimes come just before lunch time and because we have to use the same table for eating and crafting, they are not able to set the painting things up. I always try to explain the situation but then give them a better time to paint. That way I’ve not said no, they’ve been heard and their request granted but at a more convenient time for everyone.