Just Say Yes – Giving Our Kids A Choice

Hey you, yes you…you are a unicorn 

Just Say Yes

Picture this:

Your boss wakes you up at six thirty am. She’s standing over you and already telling you that you’ve made a mistake by staying up so late watching Netflix last night. She tells you to make your bed before you leave the room.  

Entering the kitchen, you discover a plate of fried eggs – over easy and rye toast. All the things you’d prefer never to eat in your life. You say, “Thanks, I’ll just have some oatmeal” but your boss insists you eat what she’s cooked because you need protein and because she just spent ten minutes cooking so you had better appreciate it. You eat it, but you don’t enjoy it. Nobody can make you enjoy something.

You clean the plate in the sink and leave it for later because the dishwasher is full. Your boss insists you wash it, dry it, and put it away. And then she tells you your skirt doesn’t look good and you have to change before she’ll be seen with you. You tell her it’s your favorite skirt and you want to wear it. She says she doesn’t care what you want and please go change.

On the way, your boss stops for gas. You go in and choose a soda and a muffin. Probably to get the egg and rye off of your tongue. She walks in to pay and tells you, you can’t have it. “But I have my own money,” you say.  She tells you, you’re making a bad choice and she won’t let you get the soda. The muffin, she says, will have to wait until after 11 am. You don’t know why and you don’t ask, because she’ll probably say that she knows better than you do. Another thing you’ll disagree about.  

But you won’t say so, because she’s your boss.  She has been your boss for twelve years and although she often seems to have your best interests in mind, she rarely asks what you want or gives you the opportunity to voice your opinion on things. Because here, at work, it’s always been like this. She tells you what to do and you do it. If you want to get paid, you have to.


Replace boss with MOTHER.  And work with LIFE.

We are people. Our choices matter so much to us that the word “choice” itself is used to market everything from soda to schools. Yet, we spend our days telling kids that what they want doesn’t matter. What they think doesn’t matter. And that their feelings come second to our authority. If we treated our kids like people what would happen?

Just Say Yes

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About Stephanie 7 Articles
Stephanie is mom of three and currently residing 30.4 miles away from her BFF, Nicole (also mom of three). Barely surviving on phone calls, texts, and infrequent hangs- they didn’t meet on craigslist, but could possibly have known each other in a previous life. Kindred spirits. Mom-friends. World travelers. (okay it was Epcot in February)


  1. Very true. Mine are still pretty young, but I try to give them choices where we can. And MAN am I reminded about how I should ASK what they want for breakfast on mornings I guess wrong because we’re in a rush.

  2. Louise,
    Even at a young age, kids can be trusted to make many decisions on their own. It’s how they learn about their world and who they are. Wear shorts outside when it’s cold? Legs get cold. Put too much salt on your spaghetti? Tastes gross. As parents we try to keep them safe and teach them, but protecting them from making their own mistakes can be frustrating for them and can squash their sense of independence. Sometimes I say something to my kids and then think, wow…if anyone ever talked to me like that I would want to punch them. Haha. I think there is a line where “parent” becomes “authoritarian”. It’s the conventional way most of us were raised. The what-I-say-goes mentality isn’t exactly respectful to the people we are trying to raise into kind, respectful adults. Does it truly make sense to try teaching respect without modeling it as best we can? It’s a challenge to try something new. Little by little, I’m finding that my kids are more capable, more respectful, and happier making their own choices along the way. Furthermore, the ownership they have over their successes and failures is a lesson in responsibility. Thanks for reading!

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