Sometimes you should say Yes

I teach all the time about moms learning how to say NO. If you have this issue, it probably causes a great deal of stress in your life.

In this post I am singing a different song. You see, many parents, while they can’t say NO to others, they have no problem saying no to their own kids.

I am not advocating spoiling your children (see how to not raise a brat). On the contrary, children need clear boundaries.

The kind of saying Yes I’m talking about is when your child asks you if:

  • he can finger paint
  • go outside and play in the dirt
  • or maybe your 2 year old wants to climb in your lap

Has saying NO become a habit?

Think about it. How often does your child ask you if they can do something, typically something small, and you spout out No!, without even really thinking about it?

I get that moms are busy. But is what your child asking really that unreasonable? Could you say Yes? How happy would it make them it you were to say Yes instead of barking out a No? 

* Yes, you can play with puzzles, one at a time.

* Yes, you can play on the back deck.

* Yes, you can play with water. Let me set you up a dishpan and cups!

While I don’t condone spoiling a child and giving them everything they want, I do think it is important to consider their feelings.


If you are always shooting down their ideas, how do you think that makes them feel, as a person?

Give other options

Obviously, your kids will ask some ridiculous questions, or things you wouldn’t possibly say yes to. But even in this situation, consider  if there is an alternative.

“No, honey, we can’t go to McDonald’s for a snack. We will be home in a few minutes and when we get there, we can fix a snack. Would you like grapes or crackers and cheese?”

“No, we cannot get out the craft box right now. Why don’t you look at the craft books we got from the library and get some ideas for what you would like to make when your sister is down for her nap this afternoon?”

“No, we cannot have cookies for breakfast. But I will be sure to pack some in you lunch for your snack time.”

Kids need respect too

Your child deserves to be treated with the same respect you would give to other people, so the next time they ask you if they can do something, stop and think before blurting out a NO. See if you can actually say Yes, or at least give them an alternative.

Do you say NO too quickly to your kids?

2 comments to Sometimes you should say Yes

  • fran

    My m.o was to say yes, if at all possible, at all times…yes you can have a cookie, after you clean the table; walk the dog; help fold the laundry; bring in 5 pieces of firewood; wash the dishes; take your nap; eat dinner. Use your imagination, the younger kids don’t question the qualifiers, they just hear the “yes” and off they go. The older kids are used to hearing it and know I mean it and off they go as well!

  • Thanks for this! I’ve been thinking a lot about how much I say “No” to my 2 year old… and realizing that I say it too much. Reading this post makes me realize that I’m not alone, but also that I can work on changing some of the times I say No to Yes.