Why I dyed my daughter's hair blue (and other adventures in saying yes).Kristen Howerton
Last month, I surprised my friends (and myself) by allowing my kindergarten-aged daughter to get her ears pierced and dye blue streaks in her hair. It was surprising because I tend to be a more conservative parent . . . but that tendency is exactly why I said yes to these things. Since my middle two children entered kindergarten, they have grown more aware of the disparity in some of the things their friends are allowed to do vs. the rules in our own home. Last year, after a bout of sassy talking that I believed to be learned behavior from Jessie and Ant Farm, we said goodbye to the tween shows on The Disney Channel. After a media fast this winter, we did away with screen time altogether except for the weekends. My kids don’t play video games. They don’t do sleepovers. I don’t allow them to be picked up by others parents for playdates after school unless I know the parent personally. While I am sure we aren’t the only parents with some of these rules, to them it sometimes feels that way. “You never let me do ANYTHING” is an oft-spoken phrase at our house. I don’t relish being a strict parent, and I don’t believe I’m a helicopter mom. I’m just a cautious one. I’ve seen the effects of too much screen-time and I think they are better behaved (and happier) with less of it. I’m also wary of sending my kids to the homes of people I don’t know. These are the two things I’m a bit of a stickler on, but to them it seems like I’m just generally strict. So last month, when India asked, again, when she could get her ears pierced, I decided to say yes. It’s not something that’s all that important to me. My preference might have been to wait, but in the realm of “choosing your battles” it’s not an important one to me. So I said yes.
Then, she began talking about wanting to add some color to her hair. And while it’s not something I would have encouraged per se, I decided that again, this was an opportunity for me to say yes. I bought her some color and did a few streaks on each side, and she was THRILLED.
I’m not saying yes to win he approval . . . I’m not a mom who feels bad about saying no. But I want to have a few areas where she feels like I’m willing to give a little. As she gets older, I know we will have more conflicts about things she would like to do, and I am going to continue to try to “choose my battles” instead of defaulting to no. I’m going to identify the battles that are important to me (security, time without screens) and those that aren’t, and meet her in the middle when I feel like it’s beneficial to do so. What are the areas where you tend to say no? Have you ever made a conscious decision to say yes more? How do you balance your rules with the rules of your kids’ peers?