Today I came upon this article that somebody posted on social media.
It’s about people celebrating actress Jennifer Garner who shows herself authentically by posting a picture of her exhausted self on Instagram. But why they actually celebrated her was that she did her ‘5th annual Yes – Day’ with her three kids. A day (one day in a year!) that her kids can dictate what the family does and the parents say yes to everything. (which make it 364 day a year that her children are dictated by their parents!)
I had to think about this for a second what I thought was most wrong about this article!? It says in there “As parents, we all have to say no a lot. No, you cannot have cookies before breakfast. No, you cannot wear your old Halloween costume to school. No, we can’t go to the beach… Wouldn’t it be nice if we could have just one day where we don’t have to say no to our kids?”
I think it would be nice if we could always say yes to our kids!! Why just one day?
Who says that we have to say no to our kids a lot? Why does this seem to be a law for parents? I was and am SHOCKED!!
In this article children are seen as these little unknowing, stupid creatures that would only eat candy and would make messes of everything. We (as parents) need to control them and mold them into real people by saying no to everything crazy/fun kids ask us for.
“While a year of Yes Days would result in household chaos (and likely cavities from all the junk food), …”
My stomach is turning reading this again… let’s put his straight.
Children are humans and they have human rights, the same as any parent!
What if you as a parent feel like eating a cookie before breakfast? You do it! Why not, right? My children have the same rights as I have. They can eat whatever they want and whenever they want to eat it and they can eat as much as they want. They can play ans watch things on their ipads almost as much they want to. If they feel like wearing something ‘crazy looking’, so be it! It’s their choice. It’s their body.
And you know what? They choose what’s good for them, what makes them happy and if not, they’ll choose different the next time.
This is the only way to learn about themselves and trust their bodies. If I told Niki that he would have a stomach ache after eating a bowl of chocolate morsels and wouldn’t allow it. He would do everything to still try it! And if he does not get sick from it, I would be a liar and he would loose trust in me!
If he can eat his bowl of chocolate whenever he wants, he will eat as much as he feels good eating and even leave half of it…
And that’s exactly it!
Children would not only eat junk if we only had Yes – Days!
They are not stupid! They are human and have human needs and a human bodies that they are able to listen to! Niki eats a bowl of chocolate almost every morning as his breakfast! And an hour or two later, he is ready for something that’s not as sweet. Today it’s fish-sticks at 11am. Yesterday it was left-over pizza at 10am. The day before he ate a ham sandwich and before that it was chips and guacamole…
Noah doesn’t eat breakfast at all. He usually asks for or makes an omelette with ham and cheese around 11am.
I drink my dense nutrition shake after my workout in the morning, usually under the shower. We all eat whatever and whenever we think is good for us! And there is no law around this.
The cabinets and fridge are always accessible for me and my children and I try to put things they like a lot (like mint Oreos) on the bottom shelves, so that they don’t have to climb up too high.
I try to trust my children and do not judge their needs and wants
Children have the ability to live in the moment much more than we do! For them eating that 3rd ice-cream today might seem as important as a hot relaxing shower for me in the morning to wake up 🙂 They don’t care if they already ate two others. In that moment when they are coming into the house sweaty from running around playing soccer for two hours…they just feel like having an ice-cream. And isn’t that cool!? I would love to feel so free to follow my feelings and meet my needs! We, as parents are so driven by stupid rules and beliefs that we picked up in our life…all the what ifs come up and possible outcomes: What if my child gets sick eating that much ice-cream? What if he/she never wants to eat anything else than ice-cream? What do people think about me letting my kids eat so much ice-cream? …
Relax! Leave it up to your child! And the truth is chances are very small that your child will get sick… And look at what this does to your child if you say yes! He/she feels in charge of himself/herself, not controlled. He/she does not have to rebel against you if you say yes as much as you can. Your child will listen to his/her body because he/she has the choice of eating it or not. Your child will feel your trust in him/her. And isn’t this the best? I would have loved this as a child, to feel confident that my parents always stood behind me and my decisions … This is how we build connection to our children!
And nothing is worth more that having a great connection to our child!
If I can trust my child and give up controlling him/her, she/he will feel great about herself/himself. And my child builds trust to me too!
Children don’t have to rebel if their needs and wants are met. I am not building walls for my children to run against… I am here for them to meet their needs as much as possible and that means that I say YES as much as possible!
And if there is a day that I don’t feel well or am trying to control them for whatever reason, I feel more exhausted at the end of they day than normal, because it’s natural for children and any human to fight if they hear a lot of ‘No, you can’t do/get this and that.’
Please try to say YES as much as possible!
Don’t think that I do whatever my kids want in every second of the day. This is not how it works in our family. Of course there are things I can’t do for whatever reason or don’t want to, because I matter too! But here are a couple of questions I can ask myself while deciding if I can turn a no into a yes:
Alternatives: I feel like sometimes we are so stuck in our ways of going about things, that we don’t even see that we can maybe achieve something in a different way, maybe exactly the way your kid wants to do it. Could be just changing up the order in doing things…like playing a game before bed instead of a story. Or going to the playground and then grocery shopping…
Does it matter in 20 years? This is a question I think about a lot when I try to hurry my children to do something because we ‘don’t have time’. If we were late to an appointment would that really matter in the whole scheme of time?
Change of perspectives: I think often it’s important to change into my child’s perspective. What would he/she feel like if I said no or yes. Sometimes it’s not about that piece of candy… it’s much more about giving my child freedom and that’s what’s really important. I want my children to feel free and confident. Or it’s not about that we really need to go to the beach. Much more it’s about spending time one-on-one, so that my child feels loved…
It’s all about trying to meet my child’s needs and help him/her grow into the person they want to be. And therefore we can put away these parenting books that make us say no all the time! Life is too short to say no! We are all here (adults and children) to live a happy and fulfilled life and that can only happen when we say YES to live life to the fullest! And YES to human rights! YES to our children!
With much love and gratitude for me free children,
One thought on “‘Yes – Day’ every day!”
I’m passionate about this too. I say yes as much as possible to my girl and really like checking in with myself to step out of the way of this human growing, finding, and owning herself and her decisions – both successes and mistakes – but I am still learning and exploring and trying to push my boundaries because it’s not how I was raised. It’s an upward spiral because there’s so much joy when she recognizes her own power. I think the most powerful strategy is modeling – I think that’s mostly how they learn. And one of my most often used strategies is taking the long-term view to guide the present, like you mentioned. So sugar intake ends up one area where I actually do step in a little more, at least to bring awareness to the relationship between her mood, energy level, physical wellness and what her recent food choices have been. I believe there’s much evidence that sugar is a highly toxic drug, addictive, and causes many very serious long-term heath problems and the addictiveness overrides people’s self-regulation. I sometimes even say to myself I’m not her drug dealer, and I explained to her that I could see from her choices that she thinks “treat” means sugar, so let’s use the correct word “sugar” when that’s what she’s talking about. But instead of a lot of “no” I think the key again, is to model healthy eating and always, consistently offer (not push) them the healthy foods we’re having even if they turn them down; grow our own organic food with kids; eat fresh from the garden (so far we only have a patio tomato plant, but we will do more!); I make an effort to only have things in the house that I feel generally good about free access to, and Im (slowly!) teaching her to prepare her own healthy foods. (And I have a similar view on screen time – let her feel for herself what is right but bring awareness and connection to her mood and energy.) Anyway, the larger view I take is that I think parents often operate out of fear that their kids will behave in a way that conflicts with the parent(s)’ personal or family value system, and the parent doesn’t know how to cope with those differences. I think there’s a lot of ego, habit and unrecognized shame that people carry from their upbringing to a brand new human who doesn’t deserve to have those issues imposed upon her/him. Or they bring positive values but fail to acknowledge there are lots of different “good” ways to live and be. Instead of understanding that they made a commitment to raise a human being who, by nature, is unique and will have different thoughts and feelings than their own, they transfer their fear of differences as control. So regardless of what day-to-day topics/decisions arise, I feel that if we are authentic and honest with ourselves about where our need for control is coming from, then we bring that authenticity to our children in an age-appropriate way, they simply won’t need a lot of “no” because their lived experience is one of mutual respect where the default dynamic is a harmonious household aligned with the intrinsic motivation for peaceful, connected relationships. And on the occasion they do hear a “no” or “I disagree with your decision” they’ll experience this issue as important to the caregiver, and they’ll experience how it feels to form their own values in contrast to someone who cares about them. This is the foundation for conflict resolution. So many people are outraged at our so-called leaders, but they are not willing to practice basic respect, empowerment, and conflict resolution at home. The global solution starts at home with our children and families. This is how schools fail, too. They are too concerned with forcing and manipulating less powerful humans into money-making workers at younger and younger ages, or mitigating the financial liability of the least productive ones, rather than using human joy and fulfillment as a metric of success and as the origin of true power, not violent power, which only destroys ourselves in the end. I’ll stop now and hope this (too??) long post conveys my respect for you and for your views and all that you share with us!! It’s very supportive for me to know someone who lives close by shares some of my similar non-mainstream beliefs. 🙂