Why Not Say Yes to the Small Stuff?


Hi john,
I just read your post--impulse control, the hallmark of life. The one about a kid getting a Mohawk. I tend to see parenting so very similar to you--thus why I own several of your books and subscribe to your website. I have a follow up question in relation to something you said in your article. You mentioned, give them an inch and they'll take a mile. I have always thought of this in terms of stretching/bending the rules or something of this nature--doing a little bit of something that you know isn't good for your kid. Never a good idea! Now if this family already had a "no Mohawks" (grin) family rule or something I can see this idiom would apply. But I'm curious if a different idiom might better apply. I've also heard it said, "say yes when you can so that it really means something when you have to say no." To me personally (and I know we disagree here!) a Mohawk is no big deal. Nor is a crazy style of shoe or some non character or safety issue of the sort. Why not say yes in the small stuff (that can easily be changed) so our kids may feel less inclined to rebel when we have to say no to big stuff (that can have much more long lasting effects)? I recall as a teenager, my parents saying no to seemingly everything, even small preferential stuff. (Now of course I thought this, I was in fact a teenager!) but I felt more frustrated by the little stuff than the big stuff. Wondering how you might respond? Thanks for the dialogue!

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