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.