How to Say “No” to Your Child

It can be difficult to say “no” to kids. We want them to be happy and have a controversy-free relationship, but every once in a while (or sometimes more often) we need to use that dreaded two-letter word. The kids may not like it, but it’s important to teach them that they won’t always get everything they want. If you follow these tips, saying “No” won’t be as hard as it may have been in the past and your kids will eventually learn to respect your authority.

You Are in Charge

No matter their age, your child must understand that you, the parent, is in charge. And sometimes, that means you must say “No” to something he may want to do, see, eat, play with, etc. So, if you are always saying “Yes” to everything your child wants, even though your better judgment is screaming, “No”, your child will start to get the impression that perhaps they are in charge. Yes, it is good for your child to express his desires and interests, but you must set his expectations that until you give it the thumbs up, it’s a no-go. Once he’s in this routine and gets it that sometimes he won’t be able to do what he wants, there won’t be such a battle every time you utter the dreaded, “No”.

Give a Simple Explanation

Kids, especially as they get older, sometimes don’t think “No” is a good enough answer. If you’ve ever heard, “But why?” over and over again, you know what I mean. You are the parent, and what you say should go, but a simple explanation will help your child understand your decision-making process and help him make better choices the next time too. There is no need to go into detail, but give your child a legitimate reason as to why he didn’t get that “Yes” he was seeking. Maybe he wants to play at a friend’s house. If you say, “No”, he won’t understand why – he’s been allowed to go there in the past after all. But if you pair your “No” with: “You cannot go today because we need to eat dinner early so we can attend your sister’s recital,” he will appreciate your choice.

It’s For Their Own Good

Let your child know that you are saying, “No” for his own good, not because you want to take his fun away. For instance, if you are saying “No” to eating another slice of cake, it’s because you don’t want him to get a belly ache. If you say “No” to watching a horror film, it’s because you know he doesn’t like gory blood scenes, and the movie contains many. If you say, “No” to another new pair of sneakers, it’s because his feet are growing and he won’t be able to enjoy them for long. When kids realize we have their best interests at heart, they will look up to our wisdom.

They Will Learn to Say “No” to Others

When kids understand that saying “No” is an OK response, it empowers them. They can make their way out of uncomfortable situations. They can protect themselves, their friends and siblings from bullying or peer pressure. They won’t take on more than they can handle. So, just say “Yes” to saying “No”!

Any tips to say “No” to your kids? We’d love to hear them. For more articles like this one, please visit All My Children blogs.

By: Melissa A. Kay

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