If you follow my Instagram, you will know that Abi has been, for lack of a better word, a shit lately. She is testing.
To be fair I can’t blame her. She’s started school and despite my best efforts to make it an easy transition for her, it’s not. Big school is such an adjustment. Going from nursery where you’re loved, cuddled and nurtured on demand and where your days are basically one big giant play date. To school where you are given strict rules, have to wear a ghastly uniform and have to fight 30 other children for just 2 minutes of one on one attention from the poor lone teacher and teaching assistant.
I guess to a 4-year-old, spending all day being told No and being restricted takes its toll and like anyone, they need a release.
Unlike at home, Abi has been a model student at school. She loves learning, seeing her friends and the structure that comes with it. Its been nearly 4 months and she has yet to refuse to do any homework, in fact she often asks to do homework and practice her letters and numbers.
We had tried what felt like everything. The cliché naughty step, reward system, you name it we tried it. But she literally didn’t care. She laughed in our face and would behave for a matter of minutes for pushing and pushing and before you knew it we would be back to square one within minutes.
I don’t know what caused my sudden change in parenting technique heart, although It probably had something to do with a gigantic meltdown that had happened over nothing and involved her biting and hitting us… BUT I decided Id had enough. There was no longer any warning. They were explosive outbursts that were stopping me enjoying time with her and I started to dread the school pick up time. Especially on the days that Chris was at work or late night.
I had read a few articles by parents who don’t believe in the word No and ill hold my hand up and admit that I’ve laughed at everyone. How can you possibly not use the word No to a child?
Well turns out quite easy.
Now, I’ll admit here that I didn’t completely get rid of the word No. I mean, it’s impossible and those of you who have met my darling eldest terror will understand why. She is stubborn, sassy and strong-willed. But I did start to say yes more.
It’s hard to get the balance right. Actually its hard to understand the balance to start with. How do you make sure that your child understands the difference between acceptable behaviour and taking the piss, because they think that you’ll just say yes to anything?
Luckily Abi got the idea pretty quick. She understood the boundaries and to be honest I think she just appreciated that I actually thought about her ludicrous ideas before ultimately saying no. You see, Yes parenting isn’t about being a push over. It’s about saying yes more but also finding other ways to say no that have less of a negative impact. Be it distraction, the term ‘maybe not today’ or trying to explain to your stubborn child for what feels like hours in a way that means the conversation goes off on about 10 different tangents and results in both of you forgetting the original subject of the conversation… Though that could just be Me and Abi…
Now don’t think that by being more lenient and less of a mum scrooge that my daily tantrum struggles are a thing of the past. They aren’t, not in the slightest. In fact they are a still a regular daily occurrence, but less scary and more predictable. They are also now easy to resolve and she’s back to the girl who melts my heart with her kind soul and funny ways. Her sass is funny again!
The mind of a 4-year-old isn’t somewhere I would ever want to fully understand. Especially Abi’s. She may not be Einstein but she is clever which makes me forget that she is only 4.When you have more than 1 child, its easy just to say no without actually thinking about what they are asking. No matter how hard you try, when you have a baby, a home and general life as well as your first-born, it is hard to ever really give them the 100% attention and all the yes’ they were so used too pre baby sibling.
Has anyone else tried Yes parenting? What’s your advice?
Mumma of Daughters