How often have we heard our parents say "NO"? All the while they are saying:
"No, you can't go outside"
"No, you can't come with me"
"No, you can't play with scissors"
"No, you can't make a mess"
"No no no no no!"
And all the while I'm thinking:
"What's the point of all of the toys I can't play with? What's the point of all the art materials? What are kiddie scissors for? And by gawd! What is the point of my beautiful new shoes?!"
I'm not saying that my folks were wrong in raising me, I turned out okay after all. All I'm saying is that hearing "NO" all the time can get really old and most of the time, with kids these days it really doesn't work. I've learned this from experience as well as from parenting books that kids are unique, inquisitive, creative and intelligent human beings. Children are PEOPLE, not mini-walking-talking-things that you can just order around. Saying "no" all the time prevents them from blossoming into the great people that they are. Sometimes, it's even easier to parent this way than having constant battles and cry-fests. Who needs all of that, really.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not after raising a spoiled brat. There are certain values that hubby and I are strict about and can not compromise. However, for the little things, I just think that there are ways in working around the word "No". Explaining why certain things can not be done and letting the child know the consequences of such behavior often gets more results. I find that this approach is more effective than flat out saying "NO". It works for my four year old as well as most adults I know. For example when my child is running crazy in the mall or any public place, I say "I know you're excited to play in the mall but can we walk properly to the play area so we will not have an accident?". Sometimes when she needs a playmate real bad and I need to blog real bad I say, "I really want to play with you, can you give me 15 minutes?" or I invite her to join me at the desk where she can color or "work" on her own laptop.
It's not always easy and I'm no baby whisperer, however as hubby and I build our confidence as first-time parents, we are learning to say "YES" more and more. This is granting, of course that she is in a safe environment and would not get hurt enough to need medical attention. A few scrapes and bruises is a right of passage, I think. The playing with dirt thing, is still something I can't work my mind around, though. If she wants to run in the park, cut news papers into bits and pieces or scatter all her toys and build forts and castles and ride a unicorn with my just washed pillow cases, I say "YES! Sure, anak, knock yourself out!"
I still watch her like a hawk and go into my turbo-worry mode, but from a safe distance. I carry a band-aid for potential boo-boos. A change of clothes. Sanitizer. Still, any mess she makes she can clean up and pack-away. The lessons she will learn as she explores the world and the things that she will realize she can do are priceless.
And besides, my YesMOM moments are not just fun for her, they are also great fun for me.