Yes and No often seem like polar opposites. When we have confidence in stating both Yes and No then we can begin to explore the huge stretch between them to enrich our lives (and our relationship with our kids).
Glossy magazines make oodles of cash from teaching us, as grown ups, how to have confidence in our No. When to say No, who to say it to. The thing is, I believe that when we raise kids without low level fear and control (think time out, star charts, consequences, rewards), we grow adults who are confident in both their Yes and their No. What’s more, they are able to respect the Yes and No of another.
So, what’s next…
What would happen if, instead of saying No to someone or something, you reframed it and said, “Yes, and to do that I want/need…”?
Here’s my inspiration –
Recently I heard someone say, “When we say No to something or someone, we’re just saying Yes to something else instead”.
There are times when this is completely appropriate, such as protecting your boundaries around your body.
Then there are other times when we say No because we can’t see the Yes. I’ve been trying to notice when and where I say No because I can’t see the Yes. When I notice one of these moments, I explore how I might be able to say, “Yes, and to do that I want/need…”.
For example, if your children ask for a family movie night and your initial response is No because you’re tired, the house is a mess, it’s school tomorrow, you were going to write out the birthday invitations etc. You could say, “Yes, that would be fab. And to do that I want help tidying the kitchen and the lounge. Once we’ve done that you guys get your PJs on and I will write birthday invitations during the credits.”
Let’s break it down a little.
When we begin to respond with, “Yes, and…” we open up opportunities. We begin to address our needs in our relationships with others.
Your best friend might call you up to invite you out for dinner with a group of friends. Previously, knowing you are shattered and don’t have the energy for a group setting, you may well have stated ‘No, thank you’. And this is fine, of course, plus it is a bold move to protect your energy and ensure you can refresh your energy reserves.
However, you could also explore responding, “Yes, I’d love to go out for dinner. And to do that I need it to be just us two. Can we arrange a separate date?”.
Here’s what you’re doing in this response:
- Expressing your positive response to your best friend’s invite.
- Communicating your need for quality time instead of a group setting.
- Making a positive, doable request.
What’s in it for me?
You’ll notice that you feel clear and confident when you respond.
You’ll discover that it is absolutely possible to meet your needs and requirements while also embracing opportunities around you.
You’ll develop great clarity about the times when a straight Yes and a straight No are the right responses.
And what about my family?
In family life you will build a strong foundation of trust with your kids.
You will notice that they begin to respect your boundaries and respond positively to your requirements.
You will find freedom in honouring the times that they say No.
You will watch them thrive socially as they clearly communicate their boundaries and requirements with their peers.