Our kids ask us for ridiculous things all the time. One afternoon I mentally added the money I would have spent had I purchased them everything that they asked for. To be fair we were killing time in an airport, but within an hour the girls had asked for over $400 worth of stuff. Of course I don’t mean to make it sound like the girls are greedy, they aren’t. They are kids and they have nothing to lose by asking. However, it sometimes feels like I am saying no to everything. I don’t like that. Eric doesn’t like that. Sometimes we get into the no zone and just say no to things that don’t matter; things that could be a yes.
We were talking about this on Saturday night. We decided to just say yes to all of their requests the following day. Mostly just as an experiment . We decided not to even mention this experiment to the girls, simply wanted to see how the day would unfold. Of course we could abort the mission if needed, but the main goal was to just say yes to it all.
Sunday morning started beautifully. Elise asked to snuggle.
Then she asked for some of her Halloween candy.
Then Cordelia wanted candy.
Then they wanted mini cupcakes leftover from a birthday party.
Then more Halloween candy.
At this point Eric and I were thinking about how much puke we would have to clean up later in the day.
And we began to wise up.
We began to saythings like, “Yes, but then you need to be done with candy.”
The day was actually pretty normal. With a few exceptions. When we went to an antique fair we knew that they would be asking to buy something. We preemptively told them that they could each choose something for a certain amount. They accepted this and didn’t ask for more.
They both asked us to carry them.
They asked to eat lunch at a restaurant.
They asked to drive around in my father’s vehicle, since he was out of town. Meaning we had to move their booster seats. Normally we would have said no, but it really was minimal effort on our part and a novel experience for them.
Cordelia asked me to clean her room. She had been mostly joking, but...
Overall they just asked for junk food and to help with things like cooking or just for a little more independence. We said yes to it all. By the end of the day Cordelia was self-regulating and said she had eaten too much junk food. Elise still wanted more, but even with her own limits.
When the day was over and the girls were in bed we reflected on our day. We learned a few things:
1) We need to not have no as a go to response, but as a last resort.
2) The girls are really cool kids. I mean we already knew this, but just reconfirmed.
3) When we don’t say no we still can guide them to make their own choices. By asking them about their motivations they often will make good choices on their own.
So I feel like I learned a lot. I need to be more mindful in my use of no. I think the word is going to be a last choice instead of a first choice.