I brought my beautiful blue-eyed 3 week old daughter to her baby shower 15 years ago and the guests were invited to give me their best parenting advice. I heard many things from "nap when your baby naps" to "wash all the clothes you're receiving as gifts right away so you'll know what size they really are after they shrink". Two very special ladies, however, gave the best advice.

One piece of advice was from a silver haired lady - the kind of lady you stop and listen to when she opens her mouth to speak. You know wisdom will be pouring forth. "When you're tempted to say NO to your child - stop and ask yourself, am I saying no because I just don't like it? Or is there something actually sinful about it?"

The other memorable piece of advice was along the same lines and was from my own mother. It had been passed down from her mother who had raised 12 kids! I'll gladly take advice from a woman who survived that! It was simply, "Say YES as often as you can." When looking for simplicity in a parent strategy it doesn't get much simpler than that!

So I went about my parenting of this little lady with these wise words in the back of my mind.

At the tender age of 7 she wanted to dye her hair. I cringed. Then I said yes - but only to temporary dye for as long as that satisfied.

At age 12 she wanted to shave her head to raise money for cancer research. While other parents said no my daughter raised $1000 for charity.

At age 13 I gave in and let her use permanent dye - just not black. Through some negotiation and compromise (both great life skills to equip your kids with by the way) we settled on red. Guess what! It didn't kill me.

Not long after that it happened - I finally decided to say yes to the black. I put aside my fears of how others would perceive my daughter. (Oh, who am I kidding? It was only about how they would perceive ME - and what on earth were her grandparents going to say!!!???) No one was more surprised by the results than I was. I actually LOVED IT! Those blue eyes of hers popped and she looked gorgeous! The jet-black hair didn't bring with it a hardened soul or the inability to smile and make eye contact. My girl was the same girl she was before - and along with her black hair came a little more self-confidence and self-discovery (OK, clearly I was doing most of the self-discovery but she did some along the way too!) It was done under my roof with my consent. It didn't kill me to say yes!

Today, at age 15, one side of her head is shaved. She proudly tells me the kids at school say their mom won't let them get the side of their head shaved. Score a few more "awesome points" for me as mom! Our relationship continues to be great. I attribute much of this to the simple parent advice I took those years ago. I've decided to "say YES as often as I can".

When parenting a teenager there's a certain comfort in letting them experiment while they're still under your roof and in your care. I don't worry about her making a train wreck of her life when she leaves home one day when she suddenly has the freedom to make her own choices and is no longer under my control. She's been allowed to make them all along - with guidance from me. Isn't that our job as parents? Rather than confine and control our kids we need to give direction and skills that will serve them for life.

My kids don't need to sneak around doing things hoping not to get caught. They can come to me knowing I'm a reasonable person who will take their request into consideration.

Find out what's really at the bottom of your child's request. Is it being asked out of rebellion? Or is it really just curiosity and healthy self-expression? Kids don't rebel unless they're given something to rebel against. The next time you're tempted to say NO to your child take some time to implement this simple parent strategy and ask yourself, "Is there really anything wrong with what they want? Or do I just not like it?" Would it kill you to SAY YES?

Author's Bio: 

Susan L. Paterson invites you to visit her website http://www.singlemotherthriving.com. If you wish parenting were simpler you'll love her blog. It's overflowing with "simple parent strategies" that will help improve your relationship with your kids.