10 Ways a Yes Today Prepares Your Kid for a No Tomorrow!
We’ve been traveling so much recently that all my latest blog posts are on travel tips. But since modern parenting is the heart of my blog, I’ve been thinking about what particular aspect to write about now that the travel posts are done. I was lost in this thought while scrolling through my social media when I came across this video I’ve shared below and then it hit me! A year ago I was a no-mom raising a no-kid and I decided to switch. Becoming a #YesMom took some effort and understanding but I can see a positive impact on Karma.
So this is what I want to talk about today. My journey from a mom who said no to everything for trivial reasons to self-realisation where the impact of what I was doing suddenly jumped up in my face.
I was a No-Mom
When Karma was around a year and a half old, she started speaking a few words clearly. One thing we did notice was that she said no a lot. Whatever we asked, her first reply was no. Be it food, play, clothes or friends; her immediate response was an adamant no. Then one day, when she was about to draw on the wall next to her study table for the Nth time, I said ‘Karma NO!’. And it hit me! She says exactly what I say to her.
As children turn two, they enter a stage where they develop independence and initiative. This I-want-to-do-it-myself attitude lasts till the age of 6 at least. At the same time, they’re not physically capable of doing everything properly. By saying no, I was hampering Karma’s developmental focus to explore and experiment. All because I was worried about her safety, creating a mess, breaking things etc… The list is endless.
That’s when we took a conscious call to cut down on the number of no’s in a day and keep it only for situations that are actually dangerous or unsafe. We also switched to explaining our disapproval instead of expressing it with a plain no.
Becoming a #YesMom
This whole process also brought about some self-realisation. If you’ve been following me on Instagram, you know I’ve been ranting about the importance of being yourself no matter what the world says. I pride myself on being independent and standing up for my beliefs despite societal pressures. I feel that’s an important aspect towards raising free-spirited independent kids.
However, I still remember hearing no a lot on my life choices and behaviour growing up. I remember how it used to make me feel constrained and unaccepted. Yes, Karma is probably too young right now for it to reach a serious level but my approach to raising her in a positive free-spirited way has to start now. This is the time her personality is forming and we want her to know she is able and loved and has the freedom to learn from her own mistakes.
So I have let go of the control. Yes, I’m not perfect and some days are more successful than others. But I can see Karma resist less. I can see her explore more. She surprises me with her capabilities every single day. She finds me more approachable and gives me random kisses out of the blue.
The #YesMom Approach
1. It’s a Lifestyle
You will not become a #YesMom overnight. It’s all about breaking an old habit and relearning a new lifestyle. It will take time and effort but it will breed freedom, creativity and confidence. It will be not be easy but it will be worth it. And once you start to see that independent spark in your child, you’ll never go back.
2. Start Small
List 5 things that you used to say no to but saying yes will not cause any serious harm. For example, I stopped saying no to jumping in puddles, drawing on walls, clothes selection and pasting stickers on furniture. 😉 It’s all part of growing up and I want Karma to have fun memories of being up to no good like I did! It impacts how she lives her life as an adult and I want her to be able to take risks and do things for the pure joy of doing them.
3. Find a Balance
You don’t have to go to the other extreme. We now have one wall in the house next to Karma’s study table that she draws on. It’s her canvas and we let her do what she wants. Same logic with stickers. All the furniture in her room has stickers on it and when I look at it now, I see her creativity. It’s her space after all and should be decorated the way she wants. Striking the right balance between yes and no will also teach them responsibility and discipline in the right way. That balance will help them when they grow up and live life on their own terms.
4. Confidence Building
When you say yes, it gives your children validation. That in turn gives them a confidence boost. Especially when it comes to toddlers who are so frustrated majority of the time because they want to do everything themselves but still aren’t capable of it. At such times, a yes to something that they think is a great idea can go a long way. Even if it means giving an extra long bath because they painted themselves from top to toe. #TrueStory. A small step now could enable a can-do attitude for the rest of their lives.
5. Creative Freedom
Growing up, I always wanted to be a journalist but at the time, it wasn’t taken as a serious or achievable goal. However, I did get a chance to continuously develop my writing and public speaking skills as a child. And eventually, a childhood creative activity became a career. I want Karma to have the same freedom regardless of the result. I want her to explore her interests and be free to focus on what she wants. Combine that with self-confidence and an ability to take risks, she can excel at whatever career path she chooses tomorrow.
6. Avoid Rebellion
Take it from someone who was the epitome of a rebellious kid, just saying no a little less and understanding where your child is coming from can make all the difference. From outbursts to breaking curfew to even getting tattoos without permission, I have done it all. But things improved when we found a common ground as a family. I have the opportunity to start this process early with Karma. Too much no can breed resentment and feelings of not being understood. Let’s not make our kids feel that way!
7. Approachable Parents
As a parent, I want Karma to come to me with her problems, ambitions, interests, views on life or just general everyday stuff. If she feels I am going to be closed to her opinions just because they differ from mine, it will cause a gap in our relationship. I want to be an approachable parent that my daughter can come to for advice or just spill her heart out. Trust, love and understanding between parent-child relationship will also set the foundation for all other relationships in her life. It will decide what she looks for in friends or a partner tomorrow.
8. Know Yourself
Giving your kids some freedom and leeway gives them a chance to discover themselves and their tastes. Karma started becoming choosy about her clothes at around 18 months old. By the time she was two, she was selecting her outfit everyday including shoes. This was something we let her do and now it’s great to see how she reflects her mood in the clothes she wears. Some days, she prefers dinosaur and shark print tees with her shorts and on other days, it’s a pink overload. This is, at a very nascent level, a way of forming your own identity. I want her to be comfortable and confident with who she is as a person. This is extremely important specially when she’s in her teens and formative years. Being yourself is a big step towards living a happy successful life.
9. Right Time to say No
Being a #YesMom doesn’t mean you have to say yes for everything. There are definitely some things that need a definite no and as parents, we need to set those boundaries. For example, we do say no to unnecessary screen or phone time even if it leads to a tantrum. On weekends, some screen time is allowed. It was difficult to break Karma’s phone habit and we would like it to stay that way for as long as possible. Same way, anything unhealthy, dangerous or downright bad is something you should say no to.
10. Be a Life Coach
As parents, our job is to raise them to be the best version of themselves. Think of yourself as a life coach for your kids. In order to make them succeed, we need to let them fail and learn. In order to know them better, we need to observe and understand them. We should not underestimate their abilities but always be on hand with help and advice when they need it. And yes, we need to keep them safe. So we need to supervise, explain and when needed, lay down the law.
I am also a part of a #YesMom community. Once I started speaking to other moms through Cipla’s #YesMom movement, it gave me the assurance that I’m on the right track. It has now developed into a regular exchange of informative ideas and every day is a step further towards raising healthy, happy and confident kids.
There is no perfect way to do it. But let’s start… Start small… Start easy… Start today! Join the #YesMom movement with me by clicking on this link. It can make a huge difference in yours and your children’s lives. And hopefully, together we will raise a happy, active and independent future generation that is FREE TO BE!
In an effort to help moms achieve this goal, Cipla has also recently launched a unique nutritional supplement for kids that helps build their immunity. ActivKids Immuno Boosters are choco-bites that have up to 100% of recommended dietary allowance of key immunity nutrients. It wasn’t just Karma who loved them… I’ve been munching on a few too! 😉
Would love to know if you took up the challenge, do share your experience in the comments below!