Let your Yes be Yes, and No be Yes

14 Mar

Training up with Love and Logic

Recently I picked up a book with a personal dedication from its previous owner in it and shared the letter with you (“Love, Steve”). This book, Parenting with Love and Logic  by Foster W. Cline and Jim Fay, is filled with many parenting tips that almost sound too good to be true.  Such as…

Tip #14 titled “Let your Yes be Yes and your No be Yes, too” talks about how the word “No” is the biggest “Fighting” word that parents use with kids. It is used so often that kids start thinking it means “maybe” and at times even “yes”. Therefore, when we do use “No”  we should mean business.

Cline and Fay speak of “Fighting words” as words that arouse an immediate defense mechanism on the child (or teenager). As soon as they hear it, they stop “listening” and get on guard. Authors share, “Kids fight against commands. They see an implied threat in them. When we tell them to do something, they see our words as an attempt to take control of the situation.” Therefore, they offer the solution of using “Thinking words” that make the child (teenager) “think” instead of getting defensive and ultimately they end up having control on a situation that will derive the same result that you initially aimed for. Let’s take a closer look at this in action.

Fighting words: “No, you can’t have a piece of cake, you haven’t finished your dinner”

Thinking words: “Yes,  you can have some cake, as soon as you finish your dinner”


Fighting words: “No, you can’t go outside, you don’t want to put on your sweater.”

Thinking words: “Yes you can go outside, as soon as you put on your sweater.”


On each example the parent is still aiming for the same goal. The child is made to think of their alternative and ultimately feels in control of the situation and not attacked. So it’s a win-win.

I decided to put this tip to practice. 


Rockford: “I want to watch Veggie Tales video in the living room Mama”

Me: “Ok, you can watch a Veggie Tales video, as soon as you pick up the living room how Mama showed you.”


I had to add the “how mama showed you” because I saw the job he did last time and so I shared with him what Mama means by “clean”.  Anyhow, he thought about this for a second as oppose to immediately start battling me and gave it some careful thought. I just walked away with an, “Ok you let me know when you have cleaned up so I can put a video on.”

Here we have the living room in a disarray

A couple of minutes later I see him walking around in dining area and I asked, “Are you done?”  He replied, “No, I’m still doing stuff.” I continue to wait patiently and an awe that this is working. A couple of minutes go by again when he enters the dining room as says, “Ok mama I cleaned living room can you put video?”

The living room after he cleaned it!

I went to put on the video and got to see his cleaning job. I really was impressed. I looked at him and said, “Good job Rockford!” With a proud smile because he had done a good job and had made Mama happy he replied, “thank you!”

This tip #14 that I was skeptical about, not only gave me, mom, the result I wanted. It gave my son something too. He completed a task in order to obtain his desired result, but in doing so, he gained confidence and pride on a job well done. This really was a win-win scenario for the both of us. Let me challenge you to try it and see how this plays out. Happy mothering…and fathering.

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