So many times our knee jerk reaction to our children’s constant stream of youthful enthusiasm and zest for life is “no”. How often do we hear ourselves or other parents saying no in one form or another to our kids (stop this, don’t do that, not now) when if we took a minute to think creatively, our “no” might easily be turned into a “yes”? I just heard a great story from my friend that led me to thinking about the many benefits of parenting and loving our kids from outside the box.
“I want to take a bath,” my friend’s three year old daughter said to her while they were eating at McDonald’s.
“Honey, we are not going home after McDonald’s. We are going over to my friend Loretta’s house.”
“Does Loretta have a bath tub?”said little Grace.”Yes, I think so.” said her mom. “Then can I take a bath at Loretta’s?” asked Grace.
“Augghhhh… (insert long pause…) Sure! We’ll ask her when we get there, O.K.?.”
My friend stayed in the moment and seized the opportunity to think outside the box. Actually, she didn’t have to work too hard at it as her three year old had done some very creative thinking for her. What a great idea little Grace had. Of course Loretta has a bath…and why not take a bath at Loretta’s? Who can argue with this sort of logic? It turns out that once set up in her bath, little Grace proceeded to play in the water for close to an hour while her mom and her mom’s friend Loretta visitied. A near hour of uninterrupted time to catch up…any parent of a three year old can appreciate the joy of that unexpected treat. And in the end, they all won.
I am all for structure and discipline, believe me. But at the same time I want my kids to maintain their childlike enthusiasm for life. So if parenting creatively from outside the box helps me do that, then I am all for it. The next time you feel the impulse to say no to your child, pause and see if this might be a chance for you to parent them from outside the box. Sometimes, just by opening ourselves to the needs of our children in the moment and thinking creatively, we are able to find a simple and even better solution than “no!”. And the best part is, when we love our kids in this way, from outside the box, it is almost always a win-win. Nice, huh??!?
For more tips on loving outside the box and exercising your “positive parenting” muscles, visit www.yogiparenting.com and sign up for more information on the yogi parenting newsletter.
Suzanne, aka Zen Mommy
In addition to mommying to two magical girls born in 2000 and 2003, Suzanne owns a holistic health center in St. Louis, Missouri where she practices as a physical therapist, Certified Infant Massage Instructor and health education teacher. Certified in a number of healing and life education approaches, Suzanne offers life coaching as and parenting tips through the positive parenting e-Book Yogi Parenting.