Do people automatically expect you to say NO faster than you say YES?
Learning to say “YES” easily was a piece of wisdom I came across as a young wife and parent. The wisdom behind this was that when you did need to say “NO”, it would be taken well knowing that it was not your usual answer just to avoid extra work or expenses. If possible, say YES to your kids asking to have a friend over, your students occasionally asking for more time on an assignment, your coworker asking you to lunch, or to your spouse asking to play soccer one night a week. Then when there’s a good reason to say NO it will be less of a shock or disappointment because you are known for saying YES to reasonable requests.
Because our usual reason for saying NO to things with our children was typically due to scheduling conflicts, our children learned to check the family calendar before asking. This led to less conflicts and whining in the middle school years because it was not us saying NO because we were annoyed but because it was a schedule conflict. It also helped our children learn to negotiate or problem solve if there were important reasons a schedule change might be needed. By the time they were in high school they were scheduling all their own events around what was on the shared calendar and learning to prioritize events and plans. Coming home from college meant they usually initiated a conversation about what evening we might set aside for family time so that they knew the rest of their time was free to make plans with friends without having to say NO to time with family. Saving my NOs and learning to say YES easily led to my children becoming adults who were conscious of other people’s schedules and ones whose NOs meant NOs.
It didn’t mean I was a parent who said YES to every class and event that came our way! Certainly not, but that’s a whole different post on guarding your child’s freetime.
If you missed the previous post on Saving Your NOs, read it here.
Table Talk: Do you find it easier to say “YES” or “NO” to requests for your time? What are ways you can prioritize your schedule to have the ability to say YES more often?