Putting Your Foot Down: How to Say No to Your Child

Putting Your Foot Down: How to Say No to Your Child


Who knew such a small word could turn the world upside down?

Yes, no is NO fun to hear. As far as your child is concerned, this is the worst word in the English language. Children just don’t like to be told no; the utterance of this word can cause tantrums, screaming, crying, or other unacceptable behaviors, even in public. They’ll beg. Plead. Try to negotiate. Even try to manipulate you into getting their way.

But there will be times when no is the answer. So how can you tell your child no in a way that they can accept and that could help avoid the undesirable response they might have to the word?

Believe it or not, there are ways to do it!

Know How to Say No

So your two-year old holds up her sippy cup and wants more juice. But it’s close to dinner time and she’s already had enough, you feel. Time to say no.

You might avoid the inevitable tantrum by having set some limits earlier. For instance, you might have explained that only one cup of juice is allowed before dinner. Then, when they ask for more, you can simply remind them that the limit was already set. “No, honey…only one cup before dinner. Remember?”

You could almost make it sound as if you’re agreeing with your child, but still say no. You might say, “Sure, you can have more juice…but you have to eat your dinner first.” That’s no without saying no, directly. Sneaky, huh? But it just might work in some cases. If your child feels there’s a payoff for doing what they’re told, they might just roll with it.

Be understanding. You could try, “I know you want more juice, but you can’t right now. You might spoil your appetite and you need to eat to grow up big and strong. After dinner you can have more juice.” You’re being supportive, you’re not yelling, and you’re offering an explanation. It’s worth a shot–some kids will really respond to this, rather than the abrupt, cold “No.”

Saying ‘No’ is GOOD for Your Child

One way to make it easier on YOU to say No to your child is to understand that by doing so, you’re raising your child to be more accepting and responsible.

A child who gets what he/she wants at all times simply grows into an adult how can be demanding, easily frustrated, and unable to deal with disappointment.

No needs to be a word they hear from a young age, says Dr. Susan Bartell, a nationally-recognized psychologist and author. “This should start when kids are very young…ages 1 or 2. When you say no to your kids at that age, you’re teaching them the skill of self-soothing…you are teaching them self-control.”

Dr. Bartell goes on to say, “They won’t have temper tantrums because you will have taught them how to hear it. Remember that when you say no you’re teaching three important skills: tolerating not getting what you want, respecting another person’s view, and managing your feelings.”

Those skills will go a long way as your child grows to adulthood. They WILL hear no: from teachers, bosses, even spouses. Having a healthy understanding and acceptance of this word will serve them well throughout their lives.

In sales, they say that you’re one “No” closer to a “Yes.” When it comes to raising your child, you’re one “No” closer to being a more effective and assertive parent.

Say No & go rock it!

Editor’s Note: Harrison Howe is a freelance content provider & writer for Daphyl’s LLC. Daphyl’s is a USA based multi-national world leader in safe, innovative, Licensed Rock N Roll, branded baby gear. The opinions, advice and assertions made in this article are for entertainment and information purposes only & are solely those of the author.