Saying ‘Yes’ to Our Children

Saying yes to our children builds our relationships and develops mutual trust and respect. It lets our children know, that we trust that they know what they need and, by positively engaging with them, we show our support for their learning journey.

Conversely, if we are constantly attempting to redirect them to what we think is important we devalue their ability to trust themselves. We might not be able to say yes all the time but we can say yes often and be creative with our problem solving skills as we consider how to make the answer ‘yes’.

For example, we might not be able to go for a bike ride right now but we can go when daddy gets home from work. There isn’t room to play that game on this table but we can play in the other room. Your friend isn’t available for a virtual play date at this time but I can set an alarm to remind us later. We don’t have that item in the house right now but I can put it on the shopping list/we can pop out and get it.

If we are really dedicated to supporting our children and valuing their choices then ‘Yes’ is inevitably our answer. And when we have a reason to say ‘no’ we should be able to explain our reasoning to our children. It becomes part of the process of trusting each other. They are able to see and understand genuine situations where ‘no’ is necessary and witness how we evaluate and analyze each new request.

We enable and equip them with information and skills that they need to be able to make decisions and give them plenty of opportunities to make their own decisions within a safe and supported environment. They develop the skills they need to be able to think for themselves and make better choices.

Read more:

Listening to our children say ‘no’

Why we should trust our children

What if I trusted my child?

Trusting our children

Published by heiditsteel

Teacher turned Unschooler: passionate about autonomous education and supporting our children's natural inclination towards learning through play.

5 thoughts on “Saying ‘Yes’ to Our Children

  1. Hi! I’ve just discovered your site and I love your pages but I wanted to talk to you about trusting children with screens. When I was a kid I used to skive off school to play on SuperMario and wanted to play it all the time. At night I used to pretend to go to bed and then when I heard my parents go to sleep id go back downstairs and play more Mario into the early hours. I can safely say I was hooked/addicted – and computer games are designed to do just that – hook you in. As are phones, I am sat here now on my phone when I have stuff I need to get on with, but the little dopamine hits keep me on it for much longer than I’d like. Children have much less self control and depth of understanding when it comes to things like addiction, mental health etc and through my work I have seen a lot of kids who are gaming night and day and won’t attend class (I was a one to one tutor) because they’ve been up all night gaming so catching up on some Zs. Many of these kids had no tangible friends and were spiralling into depression and agraphobia. I just wondered what you think about my personal experiences and my observations. I personally feel grateful for the many times my mum said ‘no’ to me playing computer games and I am now grateful when my husband pulls my phone out of my hand and turns it off. I feel relief. I think we should trust our kids to do the best thing most of the time but when it comes to screens I have to disagree because of the addictive nature of them. Is this not something you worry about?


    1. Hi Jane.

      “Screens” is such a big topic and not one I am going to be able to answer with a quick reply, as is addiction. When our children are freed from arbitrary restrictions they do not feel the need to hide or cram their joy (e.g. screen time) into their only free time, because it is freely available. It is also worth looking at what they are actually doing rather than categorising it all as ‘screens.’ For example, mine call friends, game, listen to podcasts and audio books, watch films and tv series, draw, record and edit videos, join discussion groups and more. Computer games are designed to hook you in, as are story books, toys and games, this is nothing new. Your experiences and observations are of schooled/ restricted children and that has an impact on their behaviour. Children won’t always choose the ‘right’ thing, or make the choice that you would make for them, but it is part of the process of learning and being able to make those choices in a safe and supported environment, is vital to them learning about themselves and what works best for them. Hope that helps a little. Heidi


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