Custard for breakfast, crayon on the walls, bedtime as late you like: it sounds like every child’s dream life – and it’s actually a reality for the small but growing number of kids whose parents are converts to the idea of Yes Parenting.
Yes Parents allow their children to do whatever they want. That probably conjures up images of daily chaos to most of us but Yes Parenting converts paint quite a different picture of family life.
Bea Marshall, pictured above, is a mum, creative consultant and parenting coach – and one of this country’s leading advocates of Yes Parenting.
“I aim to say yes to anything my children want,” she says, “whether that’s sweets before dinner, drawing on the walls or watching a film at 10pm.”
Bea, who has 2 sons – Peep, 9, and Jos, 6 – and lives in Sheffield, has been spreading the Yes Parenting love everywhere from the Daily Mail and Closer magazine to This Morning and Lorraine.
She says she’s been Yes Parenting for 6 years – after slavishly following the uber-stricter style of SuperNanny for the first 2 years of Peep’s life.
“Now,” she told the Daily Mail, “I encourage my sons to make their own decisions. I believe it teaches them to be independent and to understand their needs from an early age.”
To those who scoff that Yes Parenting is just letting kids run wild, meaning they’ll grow up to be irresponsible adults with no social skill and even fewer boundaries, Bea explains that allowing your child to make their own decisions doesn’t mean you, as a parent, never say no.
If her boys didn’t want to go to school one day, for example, Bea wouldn’t just go along with it. “It doesn’t happen often,” she says, “but when it does, I say, ‘Come on guys, we need to go.’ And they go. If they wanted to talk about why they didn’t want to go to school, we’d open up a conversation about it but, in the end, they would go.’
It’s Bea’s – and other Yes Parenting followers’ – belief that allowing young children space to do their own thing and respond freely to their own means that, when they get older and start to feel the sometimes-negative influence of their teenage peers, they’ll “have the confidence that they know how to make choices for themselves”.
In the meantime, though, she says: “I’m focusing on my relationship with my children and really listening to what they want. I’ve found a really different way of parenting and it feels great!”
What do you think? Could Yes Parenting be for you? Or not? Do leave a comment and let us know!