Hey, teacher – leave those kids alone! Maybe the same could be said for some parents too.
As always, my disclaimer here is that I’m not anywhere near a perfect parent myself. But I recently witnessed something that inspired this post.
I was observing a set of parents with their child, and between the two of them, they were able to crush what their child dreamed of within seconds. I heard the mom say: “If I were you, I wouldn’t even try it, because you won’t be good at it.” Within minutes, I heard the dad tell the girl: “You’re definitely not very good at that”
My heart bled for that little girl, and I quickly did an inventory of my parenting to ensure I don’t have any sentences like that in my vocabulary.
I think it’s very easy for us to say the word “No.” Frankly, I believe it might be the word that figures most in our kids’ lives. Don’t get me wrong – there is definitely a time and a place for telling our babies “No”, and that goes for every age until they’re not living under our roofs anymore. But in the meantime, I sure hope we remember the power of the word “Yes” as well.
I’ve said it here before, and I’ll say it again – it is our role as parents to support and encourage our children. Hey, you know what? Not just our children – I’d say all children.
These little ones are going to hear “No” so many times, that it will become part of who they are. “No, you can’t touch that.” “No, you can’t have that.” “No, you aren’t allowed to go there.” “No, you’re not old enough for that yet.” It never ends.
Take a little trip down memory lane – wasn’t it the same for you growing up?
So when I say let’s give our kids a break, I mean that, in my opinion, we have to learn to say “Yes” once in a while too. Of course, you need to qualify it based on your kids’ ages or abilities or whatever. “Sure, sweetheart, I think you will be a fantastic skydiver. Just make sure you take some extra formula and diapers with – it’s a long flight.” But just try it and see what a difference saying “Yes” can make in your child’s expression and their take on life.
I firmly believe that almost all parents want to protect their babies from harm, or disappointment or even failure. But I think we have to push these little people forward sometimes, and, as hard as it might seem, put our worries away for a minute or two.
I’m going to try to tell my kids “Yes! Go ahead! You can do that. I think you’ll be awesome at it!” more often. Will this ensure success for my kids? Absolutely not. Will it ensure that they won’t be disappointed? Nope.
But it will do one thing. It will show my children that I’m not here to crush, or even slightly edit, their dreams. Whatever it is that they want to do, I want to guide them, and support them and encourage them. I want to give them resources to try to achieve whatever it is that they want to do. If I can say I gave them a chance to do it, that’s worth far more than whether they succeeded or even stuck with it. And if they don’t stick with it, it will allow them the opportunity to walk away on their own terms, with their heads held high, knowing they were able to try it.
I don’t want to limit my kids’ dreams, or their hopes, and I don’t want to stand in their way, endlessly voicing my concerns and putting another brick in that wall.
I don’t ever want to catch myself saying or doing something that will take away a piece of what or who my kids are.
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