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Know How to Say “No” To Your Child


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One of the most common scenarios in a parent’s life involves having to refuse the wishes of a child for their own good.

For pre-teen kids, it can end up with them comparing you to their friend’s parent. Consider this for a moment. You have an 8 year-old son who asks for a skate ramp in the backyard for his birthday. You shake your head like a normal mom would. He then starts begging for your attention, pleading for you to say yes. He might even strike a deal with you by proposing that he clean his room (which, for a young boy, can be an ordeal) in exchange for the brand new, customized skate ramp. You still say no. “But Ryan’s mom got him one for his birthday!” You then have to explain that every mom is different and that there’s no need to compare. Before you know it, all hell breaks loose. “I hate you! You never let me have any fun!” Voila! You have become the “bad guy”.

Younger children and toddlers may resort to tears and sulky looks. When a youngster wants something really badly, it’s much more difficult to say no to them. The moment you do, don’t be surprised if your precious little toddler who normally has a cheery disposition suddenly won’t listen to you. Kids these days tend to be wiser beyond their years, and they know very well (or at least can sense) what it takes to soften you up. Being the innocent, heaven-sent angels that they are, you’d hate to do anything that would make them feel bad. After all, those sweet puppy dog eyes looking up at you are just way too irresistible, aren’t they? Couple that up with clasped hands and the phrase “pretty please with a cherry on top” and you might easily find yourself falling for their charm.

However, good parenting requires providing limits and boundaries. It’s perfectly okay for them to get mad at you when you don’t give in to their every whim. Every child goes through that phase and fortunately, they recover soon enough.

So how do we say that dreaded two-letter word to our kids without making them think that we don’t love them? Follow this three-step guide:

Be consistent. Mean what you say and say what you mean -it’s as simple as that. If you answered no when your child asked to skip dinner for dessert, stick to it. While it is embarrassing when your child makes a scene in public by throwing a tantrum, you must remain firm in saying no. That will show him that you mean business, and will eventually help him realize that acting out won’t lead to an ice cream sundae replacing the mashed potatoes.

Do explain. Often, money is what gets between you and your kids. There will be times when you cannot afford to give them what they want so just be straightforward with them about it. Discussing the value of money helps them understand which items are worth buying, and will help them distinguish if it is a need or a want. If it’s outside of financial matters, on the other hand, give them your reasons for saying no. Staying up past their bedtime, for example. Enlighten them about the importance of getting enough sleep and even entice them with a bedtime story if they go to bed early.

Present alternatives. It is not completely necessary but it is helpful to counterbalance the negative with a positive. Perhaps your young daughter idolizes Hannah Montana and wants to dye her hair the exact same shade of blonde that the character is known for. While she’s too young to have her hair exposed to chemical treatments, she’s never too young to wear hair accessories. Strike a compromise by buying her a blonde wig or better yet, headbands that look similar to what the character wears on the show. That way, she can wear them anytime and anywhere she pleases.

Learning to say no to your child is a great way to instill discipline at an early age, especially during their formative years. Always remember that doing so will help build parameters thus, offering a sense of security in your child.

Rachelle Salinger is a freelance writer whose two passions in life are: family and fashion. This mother of two loves to stay on the loop of the latest trends in hair accessories and the best baby gifts in the market. She currently writes for No Slippy Hair Clippy, purveyor of the finest non-slip hair clips for girls of all ages.


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