When Jordyn was an infant I made a point to try not to use the word “no” with her, but that was easier said than done.When Jordyn was transitioning into toddlerhood I found myself saying a lot of the following,
“No, let’s not touch that.”
“No, let’s not climb that”
“No. let’s not eat that”
It felt like “No” was becoming a normal word between us and I didn’t like it. I was getting tired of saying it and I am sure Jordyn was getting tired of hearing it because she wasn’t responding well. Saying “No” eventually led to some frustration. I knew I needed to change my approach. Jordyn responded best to both redirection and explanations at the same time. If I needed her to stop touching something, I needed to provide her with an option to touch something else and an explanation as to why, it would be just as simple as, “touching that can be harmful.” We all appreciated this approach since it meant less frustration and more communication. It has worked for our family.
Fast forward to now and I still have my bad days. Days when my patience has run low and my words are coming out of my mouth so fast I can’t stop them. Not every day is full of positive and productive interaction between Jordyn and I. I realized only some time ago that I needed to reevaluate my approach. After some time reflecting on my current parenting situation I realized something important. My problem wasn’t that I had increased my No’s with Jordyn, but that I had greatly decreased my Yes’s. I contemplated this for a while. Could I really become a “Yes” parent? Could I step out of my bubble enough to allow myself to say “Yes”? For us, saying yes is more about allowing Jordyn to discover her own boundaries and challenge her own fears. If I didn’t let Jordyn play outside in the rain with no shoes or jacket, is it because letting her would be dangerous or harmful or because it is just what your not suppose to do? Contrary to what I might of heard growing up, going outside in the rain doesn’t make you sick. If I didn’t let Jordyn grab a pen or marker and make art on her own body or her own clothes, is it because letting her would mean more work during laundry time or because markers are only for paper? I found my “no’s” were holding her back. Agreeing to things has nothing to do with material things or giving in when she is demanding something. I don’t mean I am saying yes to everything Jordyn asks for, but rather asking myself. “Why not?” Parenting Jordyn is not about convenience, it is not about whats easiest for me, but what is best for this little human who calls me Mom!