Last night my daughter woke up from a nightmare saying “no, no, no.” As I held her little body in my arms, her head resting on my chest, she sank back into a deep sleep. I listened to her breathing and thought about what she called out, and it broke my heart a little.
I believe that children need boundaries, and as parents it is our responsibility to teach our children. We teach them about love, empathy, happiness, sadness, self-control, patience…life. But it is also important to say “yes” as much as we can. Yes to spontaneous trips, or yes to playing in the mud and getting messy. Saying yes to leaving the toys on the floor sometimes because I would rather cuddle up under a blanket-fort reading a book with my daughter than clean. Or even yes to painting our legs just because. I want to say yes because it teaches and encourages self-confidence and growth. I want my daughter to grow up to be a responsible young lady.
Saying yes doesn’t mean that I never say no or that I don’t set boundaries, but it does mean that life is just that…life. I am certain that I want her to experience life in its full splendor, not just the stuff that fits neatly into my agenda. So, I have decided that I am going to stop saying no so much and let my daughter be a toddler, because after all, that is what she is.
She is going to throw her food on the floor sometimes because she likes watching our dog run over and gobble it up. She will climb on the back of the sofa and probably even fall off. She is going to want to stay outside even though it’s time for dinner. And I am going to start saying yes to all of those things, because a two-year-old isn’t meant to sit still and behave all of the time, and I want her to be two and loving life!
Lovely post, Hyland. I try to remember to say yes as often as possible, it’s so worth giving our yeses to our kids. Thanks for the reminder.
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