2 ) Always Say Yes
Remember Jim Carrey’s early 2000’s film, “Yes Man”? The one where he attends a self-help seminar that challenges him to change his life by always saying “yes” to opportunities?
Without giving away the plot, he finds himself much happier with all the positive choices he makes by saying yes.
Try doing the same thing with your little one. Say “yes” in one way or another to everything they request. Here’s why this article follows the one about lying; it’s not always a direct “yes.” But it’s definitely not a “no,” either.
Making a happy kid will come from their ability to assert their independence in the world, to have the freedom to do what they want/when they want/how they want, and to feel powerful as a little person in this big world of adults.
Obviously, there are many things that we, as adults responsible for their safety and well-being, cannot allow. Sorry kid, you will never be allowed to put a fork in an outlet, run across the street into traffic, or swim with piranhas; it’s just not going to happen. We have to make those trickier decisions that fall into the category of “you’ll understand when you’re older.”
But for now, I know one way to make a kid happier is to always say yes. Even when you feel like you want to say no, find a way to make it sound like a yes!
For instance, in my last article, I gave an example about my son wanting to know why we couldn’t go into a store. The lie was that the store was closed (while my adulting reason is that we had to get home to make dinner, and shopping wasn’t in the budget that day.) Following the lie, I made sure to still answer with a yes. “I’m sad it’s closed today too, but maybe we can go another day!”
Notice my wording; maybe we can go another day. It sounds like a yes; it has a positive connotation; my voice inflection sounded better than if I just said no. That word maybe is what’s key. It is not an outright “no” nor a complete “yes” that I would then be held to upkeep. Trust me, if my answer was, “I’m sad it’s closed today too, let’s go tomorrow!” my kid would immediately ask to go to that store as soon as his eyes opened in the morning. Kids are crazy smart and remember everything!
There will be a delicate balance of answering your little ones that you will need to figure out. Always answering “yes” to their every desire could lead to an over-indulged, spoiled pain-in-the-you-know-what. Obviously, you shouldn’t do that.
Sometimes the best answer is the truth; saying “no” and explaining why is what your child needs to hear (see the running across the street into traffic example above).
Other times, adjusting your wording to make your answer always sound like the possibility of a “yes” will make them a much happier kid!