Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Saying "Yes"

Part of our radical unschooling adventure is mindful, respectful parenting, it's the foundation really. So a part of that is saying yes to my children as much as possible. I try not to say no and come up with alternatives whenever possible instead of just a flat out no. And if I have to say no I make sure it's really a no, not a because I'm to lazy, kinda no. So whenever possible I like to say yes or some form of yes.  My goal is to say yes. 
My kids ask me permission before doing a lot of things. It's not something I require or tell them they must do. But it's something they automatically do out of consideration. 

  • Yes, sure, you can have a slice of cake and milk for breakfast. 
  • Yes, you can have that lollipop. 
  • Yes, I will read to you. 
  • Yes, I can stop doing the dishes to come and play. 
  • Yes, I will paint your nails.
  • Yes, let's have a sword fight. (not real swords : ) 
  • We are out of that, but let's go get some tomorrow. (not a flat out yes but not a no - so still in the yes camp). 
  • We can't buy that new toy today, but let's put it on the list together for another trip. Seeing me take out a pen and paper and write down a want or desire when it's something that can't be done in that moment or purchased at that time, really makes my kids feel so good, like they are being heard and respected. And it's not a no. 

Yes...... such a simple word. But it has almost a magical ability. It can create the biggest smile and the happiest twinkle in the eye of any one of my children. 
So what have I said yes to this past week?

  • Yes, of course you can do that craft kit.
  • Yes, you can let Summer draw Spiderman web shooters on your wrists. (Decklin)
  • Yes, you can have ice cream (several days of yes on this one).
  • Yes, I'll come home now so you can go to the driving range. (Bry and Deck wanted to go hit some balls). 
  • Yes, sure we can play Spot it again. 
  • Yes, you can stay up later to play. 
  • Yes, you can go have time alone from the other kids. 
  • Yes, Ember, I will dump out the ice tea I just gave you so you can do it yourself. 
  • Sure, we can go to the pet store and look at pets again today. (this is like our mini zoo : ).
  • Yes, let's look that up because I don't know exactly. 
  • Yes, we can watch Fear Factor. 
  • Yes, you can have a lollipop. 
  • Yes, sure you can have another white nectarine. 
  • Yes, you can fall asleep in my bed. 
  • Yes, you can play with shaving cream in the bath tub. 
  • No, I don't mind your target set up and shooting in the bathtub. When asked by my son if him doing this was okay. So this was a good no : ). 
  • Sure, it's okay if you don't want to clean your closet. When you do, if you want help, let me know. 
  • Sure we can stop at the pet store after the eye doctor. 
  • Yes, you can blow these candles out. Sure you can all have a turn. 
  • Yes, sure you can use the corn holders to cut up your clay. 
  • Yes, I can make you a line of dominoes to knock down. 
Somebody might be looking at this list of yes moments of this past week, and think, that's a lot of yes. Yes : ) it is a lot of yes. The point being, my goal is to say yes a lot. Did I say no at all this week? I'm sure I did. But only when absolutely needed, and usually with an alternative. I am not a permissive, just do whatever you want kind of Mom. 
  • I'm sorry, we are all out of that type of ice cream, but we have these others. 
  • No, I'm not cooking dinner tonight but I got us a wonderful pizza. (I'll bet you can hear the cheers on this one)
  • Ember please don't pull the dogs tail. She doesn't like it. But she loves when you pet her head and belly. 
  • That is really hot right now, let's wait until it cools down and you can touch it. 
  • I'm sorry the iced tea is empty, but we can make some more if you'd like? 
  • Girls, the way you are speaking to each other is unkind. How can you work this problem out without hurtful words? 

I love this quote from Joyce Fetteroll at Joyfully Rejoycing (a great unschooling site): Don't drop all your parenting rules at once. Just say "Yes!" more.
One of the biggest mistakes made is after reading how conventional rule-based parenting feels and looks to kids and then declare: there are no more rules: eat whatever you want, stay up as late as you want ... The result is kids feel tossed into the middle of a storm tossed ocean without support and chaos ensues. While it works great to declare vacation from school and just plunge into unschooling, it works better to ease into applying the unschooling principles to parenting.
Here are some links on Sandra Dodd's page about saying yes:

Have a great day! And say Yes! 


Jessica said...

Sounds like your better at "yes" than I am. I still struggle, believe it or not! :)

Melissa said...

Awe Jessica, thank you. No I don't believe it! You are an Unschool inspiration : ).

Anonymous said...

I can't help but giggle, because I really am a lot like you are. I just tend to 'label' it differently (gentle-parenting), but really many of our yes's are oh.so.the.same. I definitely redirect ill-behavior, but with all my yes's, I just assume that they are a bit spoiled at times (which isn't true because the mannerism/behavior show me differently). Have a beautiful day friend!

Melissa said...

Thank you for sharing that Sheri. You have a beautiful day also my friend.