I have noticed a sweet trend among mothers. Blogs and social media have been filled with mamas who gift their kids with a “Yes Day.” They spend an entire day saying yes to everything (within reason) that their child asks to do. I understand the sentiment behind these days–creating a fun memory for kids and doing some sort of wild things that we wouldn’t normally allow.
But, what kind of thinking really began the Yes Day trend? Are we having Yes Days because the rest of our kids’ days are so strict that we feel like they need a break? Not likely. I think most mothers say yes as much as we possibly can. We aren’t here to hold our kids hostage in a life that is void of all fun. I suspect that the Yes Day was born of a certain spirit in parenting these days that is too permissive. It almost seems as if parents are afraid to say no, especially if they don’t feel their reasoning is particularly solid. Parents seem to be worried that they need air-tight reasons for everything they do. But, this isn’t true. Sometimes we need to say just no because we want to.
This sounds like a revolutionary idea, doesn’t it? In an age when parents are continually worried about whether we are ruining our children? When we are so worried about feelings that we are literally terrified to do anything that might make our darlings feel unhappy?
The Huffington Post featured an article this week entitled “Are You a Bullied Parent?” The author has written a book about the phenomenon of parents’ lives being ruled and ruined by their beloved offspring. He says the trend has been brought on by parents who are making the “easy” choice to give in to their child’s every whim. “When faced with a parenting dilemma,” he writes, “the right choice is rarely the easy one.”
It turns out that parenting is just like the rest of life–the right choice is often the most difficult one to make. So, I propose, if you’re having trouble with your kids bullying you, if your little people are ruling your world and you don’t know where to start turning this ship around, have a No Day. Get up determined that the answer to most questions will be no.
It’s true that saying no isn’t always easy, but one thing I can testify to: the more you say it, the easier it gets. Saying no is important to your family’s spiritual growth. No woman can serve others or focus on her own spiritual formation or the formation of her children as long as she is caught in a day in, day out struggle of being bullied by her own kids. Let me encourage you, mothers–you have the authority of God Himself backing you up on this. His word calls you the authority in your kids’ lives. They are bound by His law to honor you. And, that is right where you should begin in your quest to teach your children the meaning of the word no.
Everything about all of your lives will be better. Have a No Day, and trust God to help you keep the noes coming until your children understand that they are not your authority. This is the beginning of teaching them truths that will be important to their character and their spiritual foundation throughout their lives. It won’t be easy, but it is essential. Say no. And, see a new life emerge for all of you.
about a year ago when reading the biography of Hudson Taylor, i read that he gave up al material comforts years before serving as a missionary to prepare himself for the life he was going to live. I came to understand that by giving my kids a wonderful life now with all the stuff and entertainment they want, I may be hardening their hearts to what God would call them to later. Since then, while my kids have fun and much more than they need, the focus has shifted to how they can serve the family, respecting the parents and moving off of self.
My mother said that when she was young that her mother always said that on her birthday she could do anything she wanted to or not to if she did not want to do something. All went well until she got to school. On March 27 that year she refused to go to the blackboard when told to by the teacher. When asked why she would not go she said it is my birthday and I can do anything I want . The teacher got out her ruler and hit her across her hand and she went to the board. She said that it was the only spanking she got in school.
Good post Melissa
This is so true. Ours are grown, but I well remember the fear and dread of conflict that kept me from saying No sometimes when I should have. And the ugly truth is, it wasn’t out of a misguided love for them as it was my own discomfort at being in conflict with someone. I have repented, and asked for forgiveness and restoration of any damage done. Thankful God’s work is not dependent on my perfect record and I am thankful for the many times He did give me the strength to make unpopular decisions for our children. What a great word of encouragement to young parents to be bold and say NO…
God bless you Melissa!
I can remember saying to my kids, “I’m saying no to you now so that some day soon you will have the courage to say no to yourself.”
“Sin is the only bad word left”… Bravo. Amazingly true. Sin promises pleasure but delivers pain. Every time. My sin put Jesus on the cross but praise the Lord He has forgiven me- I accepted Jesus at 37, 3 years ago after a lifetime of heartache and regret… because of sin. Jesus Christ has changed my heart and my life because He is a God of second chances. ACTS 4:12