Saturday, October 13, 2012

31 Days of Repetitive Parenting: Day 13 "Say 'Yes, Mommy!' "

From the time our kids could speak two word sentences we have tried to ingrain the phrases, "yes, Mommy" and "yes, Daddy" into their adorable little heads.  Some may call it brainwashing...I prefer to call it parenting.

In case you have not had the privilege of raising a two year old yet, let me be the first to tell ya that one of their favorite words is "NO!"  It can be whined, laughed, whispered, screamed, yawned, interjected into the most mundane moments of the day or repeated over and over just for the sheer fun of it.

Did I mention that it is one of their favorite words?!

Cupcake demonstrating how to yell!

There are a couple of reasons why "no" may be the more preferred vocab word for a toddler than "yes."
  1. "No" is easier to say, than "yes."  Linguistically, "yes" is just a more complicated sound for a toddler who may not have too many teeth yet.  Darlin' said, "Ja" for the longest time, which worked well with Hubby's Swedish heritage!
  2. They are used to hearing "no" more often.  "No, don't touch that.  No pulling my hair.  No biting.  No hitting.  No pulling the cat's tail.  No painting the crib with poo!  No, no, no!"
  3. Original sin.  Yup, they're cute, but they're cute little sinners.  Without getting into a theological treatise on Calvinism, I'll just leave it at that
  4. A combination of all of the above.
Answer: All of the above.  (At least that's my working theory!)

So in order to combat the innate toddler tendency toward "no," we have to make a conscious effort to use the word, "yes!"  Repeatedly.

With each of our kids, we have found that they are more likely to comply with our request if we can get them to verbalize "yes."  It is much more difficult for them to disobey with the heart while they are saying "yes" with the mouth.

When I have found myself gridlocked in a battle of wills with my toddler and I am at my wits end, it has been helpful to calmly respond, "I need to hear a 'Yes, Mommy.'"  Many a time, the response is immediate compliance.  At other times, I may need to be more persistent until I hear those words uttered.  As the kids got older, sometimes it would be through gritted teeth as they stomped up the stairs to clean their room.  Occasionally, we need to accept reluctant obedience and that's okay, it's all part of the brainwashing training process.

As parents, we are the greatest role models our young children have in their lives.  They will imitate the things we say and do, sometimes to our great joy and sometimes to our great embarrassment (but that's a post for another day!)  Either way, it is a good reminder to us that they are watching and listening.

Recently, my son and I were caught in some typical parent/teen struggle.  He must not have liked my request, since he answered with a rather uncharacteristically emphatic, "No way!"  To which, Cupcake properly pointed out, "Don't say no to Mommy.  Say, 'Yes, Mommy!'"  Just leave it to my toddler to help diffuse any teen tension with her cuteness!

"Say 'Yes, Mommy'" is worth hearing them repeat!

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