I learned this the hard way when my daughter was diagnosed with Mono. I was humbled when I realized the reason I say YES to most things that make her life so busy, was because IT MADE HER HAPPY! But guess what? IT ALSO MADE HER SICK! It didn’t mean it was good for her for me to say “yes” every time. I realized this when she was first diagnosed. She came into my room to ask me if she could do something, even though most of the time while she’s been sick she’s been “down.” I thought about what she asked me, and paused, and thought, hmmm….I WANT to say yes, but that doesn’t mean I SHOULD! Then, I thought, well “Why do I want to tell her yes?”
And then I thought more and said to myself, “Because it would make her happy!”
BAM! It dawned on me that just because I have no problem saying NO to other things such as material crap, behavior, tone of voice, certain movies or music, doesn’t mean that saying YES to running around all the time makes it any smarter! What’s the difference? If you asked any of the parents who have a hard time saying NO to their children over the other stuff I mentioned, what do you think their reason would be as to why? It would no doubt be because they know it makes their kid happy if they say YES to that pair of expensive jeans, or whatever the kid is asking for.
So I am no different, I just say YES and NO to different stuff. And it’s proved to be unwise for my daughter.
Not only does she have mono, but she’s carrying the Epstein Barr Virus, meaning Mono made it into her blood. She’ll most likely carry that for the rest of her life. I could feel responsible for her illness, but I can’t do that. I am learning from it, and now scaling back, even though it’s gonna be hard for me and her. I know how happy it makes her to be out and about having her hands in everything. And we all love to see our children happy, don’t we?!
So the next time your child asks you something, or the next several times they do, think more about why you are saying YES. I think if it’s in moderation, it’s gonna be OK obviously to say YES. But I think we all have weaknesses as parents, where we’ve created a rhythm of YESES and our children are use to it and almost “expect” us to bend because of whatever weakness is in us. Make sense?
But we have to be OPEN to the possibility of learning something as parents. I mean how could I have been this way for 10 years plus and not have seen it??? Answer me that!
So just keep an open mind and an open heart, and am humbled by the fact that we can always learn as parents. Wrestle with the possibility that some ways we are with our kids isn’t what’s best for them. You might not get as huge of a wake-up call as I did, but it’s good to stay on your toes.
Happy “NO” saying time!
About Gina Norma
Gina Norma grew up in St. Paul MN, and enjoys art, reading, traveling, thrift shopping, picnics, volunteering and spending time with her 17-year-old. One day she hopes to go to Italy, attend college, and solve world hunger. Gina says, “To me, parenting is all about building relationships with our kids and walking along side them — not trying to control them or use shame.” You can read Gina’s blog at www.walkwithyourteen.blogspot.com.