The Answer to All Your Parenting Problems, Yes

If there is anything in this world that causes more arguments and strain between a parent and child, it is hearing the word, “no”.

Can I go my friend’s house down the street?


Can I have the new Zelda video game?


Can I take this to school?


And the list could go on and on. The answer to these questions provokes an angered and hurt response. Some children ask again, some pout, and some even cry. As parents, we have to hold on to our answer with a strong conviction. It isn’t always easy.


I learned a long time ago, that saying yes got a much better reception than always telling my kids they couldn’t do something. If you’ve ever had or currently have a head strong child, you can appreciate this.

When I told my oldest not to climb a tree, she climbed it anyways. When I told her not to play ball in the front yard near the busy street, she did at the first opportunity. Why? Because she wanted to prove that she could. To her, I was saying she couldn’t do something she knew she could do.

Kids don’t sometimes understand the reasoning behind a parent’s decision. We’re not obligated to give them one, but sometimes it opens up understanding and communication then simply saying, “Because I told you so.”

No one likes to be told what they can and can’t do.  As children get older, they want choices; they want to feel like they have some control over themselves. As parents, I believe it’s our job to ease them into those choices, from small ones to larger ones as they near adult hood.

So, when my child asks if they can play ball in the front yard, I say, “Sure, but if you do then you’ll be grounded with no ball to play for a week.”

I haven’t said no, have I? But I’ve also allowed my child to weigh the consequence of the action.

Of course, this isn’t meant for toddlers, but allowing a child to make a choice makes them feel like you’re not trapping them or holding them back from something they feel is their right.

Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t ever allow my child to have or do dangerous things. My little cub scout has requested a pocket knife several times, and each time he’s been denied. Do I tell him no? Some times. On the most part, I tell him, “You can when you’re old enough to handle that responsibility.”  And when he asks what age that is, I usually say something like, “It’s not a number, but a state of maturity and proven record of responsible behavior.”

He has to go think about that one. Later, when he comes back to me there’s a new kind of respect in his eyes.

Not every child’s response to their parents the same way. In that above situation, my oldest would have simply stated, “I don’t care.” and make a threat.

Another one of my children got into my make-up bag and made herself pretty for school one morning. I washed her face, and I told her that right now she didn’t need make-up, she’s beautiful the way she is, but if she felt she needed to wear make-up to school, then she would need to wait until she was sixteen as I did. At a tender age of six, this answer was acceptable to her. On the way home from school she had figured out it was nine more years after her next birthday until she could wear eye shadow.

As children get older, rules feel suffocating and they have this need to break free. Do you remember when you’re parents said, “No you can’t do this. You have to do that.”

To a middle grader, it sounds like a broken record and they just tune you out.

I’m not an expert; I’m still trying to figure out this parenting thing like everyone else rising kids. Everyone has an opinion and many have written books on it. I do, however, believe that answer to many parenting problems is, yes.

Yes, I can teach my child between right and wrong.

Yes, I can walk away from the agreement.

Yes, I can raise a child to become a productive member of society.

What yes, can you think to add today?


Daughter of a dairy farmer, this crafty mom has a heart for all things handmade. When she's not writing or crafting, you can find her creating memories with her family.

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One comment on “The Answer to All Your Parenting Problems, Yes
  1. Ann McDonnell says:

    Just after moving to our current home we had a party for Iian’s Birthday. The next day the strap for the pinata was still hanging out the large maple. It was ever so tempting to my boys (9&7) rocking in the breeze right off the deck. William looked at me and asked if he could jump out and swing on it. I knew that wasn’t going to end up like he was thinking it would. Iian was standing there too. Both waiting for the answer they knew would be a No. I said, “Sure why not.” They were shocked, but I knew this was a lesson they needed to learn. It was midsummer, no school days would be missed. So I mentally located my keys and planned the afternoon at the hospital for a broken bone. Will climbed up on the railing and jumped. He held on for the first bounce of the branch, not the second. Will crashed on the ground and ended up with a sprained ankle. While I ran around to his side, Iian looked through the fence and said “Well, that was stupid.” When Will asked me later why I didn’t stop him, I admitted that I was getting tired of saying no and having to explain it. Lucky for me, my fast learners rarely question my Nos anymore. And even if they do, they dont act without putting serious thought behind it. Thank you Pinata strap, I am eternally in your debt.

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