Did you know that, by the time we are five years old, we’ve heard “no” 40,000 times? And that in that same span of time, we’ve only heard “yes” 5000 times? (I learned that reading The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson, a great book by the way.)
While it’s true that “no” is important – for safety, if nothing else – this n-word can really bring us down… As Jeff puts it: “Eight times as many noes as yeses. Eight times the force holding you down, compared to the force lifting you up. Eight times the gravity against your desire to soar.”
Today, I share with you the primo ninja parenting tactic of them all… Make no sound like yes! Here’s how:
1) Actually say yes. When they ask “Mom, can I have an ice cream?” you respond “sure! Right after dinner.” If it’s “can we play play dough?” and if there isn’t time at the moment, you respond “absolutely – as soon as we get home from the doctor.” This works in so many situations, and have the added bonus of making us parents feel somehow lighter and happier… because no sucks and yes is nice.
2) Keep your cautions to yourself. If your mouth says “yes” but your body language, facial expression, and tone communicate fear and worry, your child won’t hear the yes. Worse, if you say yes and then come up with 10 reasons why your child shouldn’t climb that tree, or go barefoot, or eat the Halloween candy you just told him he could eat, are you really saying yes? Not really… This is where we need to be angels, not balloon poppers.
3) Use “yes, and…” A great turn-no-into-yes tactic for transitional times, try this one when your child wants to do one thing and you know that you need to do another… “Mom, can we play play dough?” “Yes, we can play now for a bit and will keep going with it when we get back from the doctor.”
If you take just one thing from this episode, I hope it is this: our words matter. The more yeses we can squeeze into a child’s day – more noes we can eliminate – the lighter and happier we will all be.
How are you changing “no” to “yes”? Please share! Either go to weturnedoutokay.com/contact or leave a comment right at the bottom of this post. I can’t wait to hear your innovations!