This Mom Tried Only Saying 'Yes' To Her Kids For A Week. Here's What She Learned.

"I guess we're making spaghetti tacos tonight."

Hannah Williams, mom of two boys, considers herself a "gentle parent" which means she's hands-on while still letting her children have autonomy over themselves and their lives. Author L.R. Knost describes gentle parenting as "guiding instead of controlling, connecting instead of punishing, encouraging instead of demanding. It's about listening, understanding, responding, and communicating."

Williams noticed a trend in her parenting groups on Facebook in which some gentle parents don't say "no" to their kids. She doesn't personally practice that, but she did have an idea for something she wanted to try for a brief period of time. In a video for BuzzFeed, she experimented with only saying "yes" to her two kids for one week

Before she got started, she set two ground rules. The first was that she didn't let her kids know that she was doing this experiment for a week because she didn't want them to take advantage. The second was to "keep it clean." "There are certain hygiene-oriented things that need to happen [and] health-oriented things, like you can't have cookies for every meal," she said in the video. "But beyond that, I let things go and I said 'yes.' We had some interesting results." 


Throughout the week, she made them meals she wouldn't normally cook, such as chicken nuggets and spaghetti tacos because that's what they wanted. She learned that they're more likely to eat the entire plate if they chose the meal themselves. She also went out with them more often and played games she wouldn't otherwise get involved in. 

During one weeknight, Williams's kids asked if they could have a picnic in the park and play soccer. She would normally say "no" because it was a work night, but this time, she packed up their dinner and headed to the park. The kids had a great time eating and playing outside in the company of their parents. "This is the best day ever!" one of her son's exclaimed. 

"It was really eye-opening to me to realize that we can spend weeknights doing quality family stuff instead of just reserving it all for the weekends because that's something I didn't think was possible before," Williams said after the experience. 

Throughout the week, Williams learned a lot. One sweet takeaway was she realized her kids want to learn more about her and what she does as well as be around her. She also realized that oftentimes she says "no" because she thinks not doing what they want or ask for will be more convenient, but "it ends up not being more difficult to say 'yes' and ends up being a lot more rewarding.'"

"I've learned there's a better work-life balance that I can achieve as a parent," Williams said. "It doesn't have to be that Monday through Friday is work and Saturday and Sunday is kids. That has been such an important realization because that's something I struggle with every day being a working parent. I'm sure many of you other working parents can relate. 

Lastly, she was proud of her kids at the end of the week and happy that they're so well-behaved. Seeing the choices they made throughout the week reminded her how genuinely great and sweet they are. 

The week certainly had its ups and downs for Williams, but this experiment may be one more parents want to test out — just for a little while. You may be surprised by what you learn. 


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