Karina Bland is on vacation. This column was first published August 24, 2007.
“I can’t believe you’re letting them do that,” my friend Lori, said, watching her son and mine through the French doors at the back of my house.
The boys had turned the sprinkler on the slide and were flying down across a growing mud bog at its bottom.
“They’re ruining your grass,” Lori said.
I still said yes.
I’m trying to say yes to my 8-year-old more often. Mostly, because I say no a lot:
No, he can’t make brownies;
No to a game of Don’t Break the Ice.
No, he can’t wear his “Star Wars” T-shirt again.
There’s no reason not to let him bake brownies. I have time for one go at that vile game. And what does it matter if he wears the same shirt two days in a row?
Now don’t jump on me. I’m not saying yes to anything overindulgent or dangerous. I said no to a $50 video game and jumping off the roof of the house into the pool, didn’t I?
My friend Amy uses this philosophy: “Are you saying no because it’s dangerous or are you saying no because it is inconvenient for you?”
I first heard her use it when her daughter, Carly, was about 2 and playing in the mud in the sweetest little sundress. Carly was having a blast, and both she and the dress could be washed.
Saying no is quick and easy.
But I’m learning that saying yes more often gives power to my no. My son doesn’t question me when I say no now, mainly because he doesn’t hear it as often.
I’m not a pushover. Often, I’m saying no even though it sounds like a yes. I say, “Yes, you can go to Luc’s house as soon as your room is clean.”
It’s all how you say it.
Reach Karina at [email protected] or 602-444-8614. More at karinabland.azcentral.com.
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