Monday, October 21, 2013

Worst Case Scenario Parenting

A friend was over a couple of weeks ago and one of my kids did something (I can't remember now what it was) - but my friend looked at me and said she could never let her kids do that.

She didn't say it in a mean way just kind of an astounded way.  I think it was because it would cause too much of a mess.  I totally understand that.

Lately though I have started using what I like to call "Worst Case Scenario Parenting".  It basically goes like this - the kids ask me if they can do something.  I then think of most of the possible scenarios that could happen if they did "that" and I get to the worst one.

Then I decide if I could live with that happening and still keep my sanity.  If so the answer is yes.  And you know what?   I say yes a lot more these days.

"Mom, can sissy and I play with the role of toilet paper?"   In my head I can't think of a worst case scenario here except we would waste some toilet paper.  I said yes.  Guess what happened - they put most of it down the toilet and some in the sink.  Guess what then happened?  I fished it out of the sink and my husband unclogged the toilet.

Big deal - not really.  Inconvenient - maybe.

"Mom, can I put my wrestlers in the salt tray?"

"Mom, can I use these ingredients to make something gross and then microwave it?"

"Mom, can I jump from this part of the deck?"

"Mommy, can I give you a manicure?"

"Mommy, can we play on the clothes pile?"

"Mom, can I wear my Batman costume to the wedding?"

"Mom, can I put the baby in a  . . ." NO!

My no answers usually involve questions about what they can and can't do with the baby.  I do draw the line somewhere. 

My point is that kids need to explore.  They need to make a mess sometimes.  They need to fail.  And what better place to fail than at home with parents who hopefully love them and tell them it is okay to fail, just don't stop trying.

Over the last couple of days we have had to unclog the toilet twice.  I had to get the wire cutters and cut off a measuring cup from my daughter's finger (she stuck it through the hole in the end).  I have had to sweep up broken glass at least three times.  We use glass.  The kids use glass.  Glass breaks.  We sweep it up.

"Mom, can I put my WWE belt on the baby?"

"Mom, can I make the baby a play area?"

"Mom, can I set the table with little wrestlers?"  Okay so she didn't ask me on this one.

Every parent is different. But give it a try.  Just think of the worst thing that could happen - and then realize that it is not that bad.  (Use common sense of course).

I realize this will mean more mess for you.  But we should all realize that kids are young for about 5 minutes and what do you want them to remember?  How neat your house was or how wonderful their home was.

Update:  I did forget to add that I do require them to clean up their mess when they are done.  This takes some work but they are getting better.



  1. And next time my kids say, "Can we go to Miss Gretchen's house?" answer will be yes! :):)

  2. Miss Leah put a whole bunch of toilet paper in the toilet last night and by the time any of us realized that the toilet was clogged and running and overflowing the water was all the way down the hall through the dining room and into the laundry room.

    Good times:)

  3. I totally love this idea. I'm going to give it a try. I'd much rather say yes more than no. And they are old enough to clean up their own messes. Plus the more messes they have to clean the more apt they are to think about how much they really want to do certain things. Maybe?

    1. Exactly! They do love making the mess but the groans when they have to clean it up. But yes, they have to clean it up.


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