Sunday, November 14, 2010

Understanding the Need to Say "NO" to Your Children

It is the fact that no one would say that they enjoy hearing the word “NO.” And children especially dislike it. One of the biggest struggles parents face with their children is saying "no." And not that kind of ‘no’ that gives children a window of opportunity to argue and eventually get their way, but the kind of ‘no’ that says the issue is final—‘no’ negotiating.
 However, as a counselor and parent I know that saying (and hearing) “no” is a vital and positive part of our lives. Some would say it’s just a fact of life that we all have to deal with. That may be true – but that’s not what I’m saying. Saying “no” at the appropriate time is a primary aspect of teaching our children to be motivated, centered, appreciative, happy human beings. How to say “no” to the children effectively? Is something which requires skills, here is the way to do it
It’s an understatement to say that we’re living in an overindulgent society. To many, MORE is always better. However, if this is true then there will never be enough – because someone will always have more than you do. So the combination of our material-obsessed society and two generations of parents that overcompensate by giving their children material things rather than time means that children are being robbed of the opportunity to develop motivation and drive in their own lives. Instead they grow up over-valuing things – but lack the drive to work for those things – yet feel entitled to them and even expect things should come easily. Our society is raising children who will grow up missing the primary qualities that make a successful human being determination and patience.

So, how do we help our children? You begin by saying no. you start to understand that saying no is a tool. You learn that when you say no – you’re teaching your child something. You learn to say no in a non-punishing manner. You take the time to think through your answers, while keeping your focus on the life lesson at hand. Our role as parents is to raise our children to be happy, successful, contributing members of society. Therefore, teaching them to handle hearing “no” – and to understand the lesson behind it – is key.
Reasoning only may further frustrate the parent and sends the message to the child that there needs to be a good reason behind every decision. In fact, no reason is necessary.

Too many parents take the easy road and say yes for instant gratification. It’s like the child eyes and the father buys. It gets the child off their back; quiets them down; shuts them up. But let’s think about the damage done from that choice. The kids see your own lack of patience. Therefore, they don’t learn to appreciate what they have, they can become spoiled, and they learn to manipulate in order to get what they want. And later on – they lack the drive and motivation to work for what they want because they feel entitled to it.

Take a few minutes to think about how you handle saying no to your children (or grandchildren). Take stock in the values you hold dear and want to teach them, and ask yourself if you’re working toward that goal. Learn to talk to your children and explain why you’re saying no (that it’s not a punishment) – and what you are trying to teach them from it.
"You don't have to carry on the discussion. Parents seem to think if they give enough good reasons, they'll accept it," Attitude also counts for a lot when parents say no to their children.  The best way to get a child to listen is to deliver a command or request in a calm, low-key manner. When they don't follow the command, the best thing to do is to follow it up with a lower key, calmer closer, quieter command.


  1. Hey Madz this is a great View and true too . I hope that lots of parents read this. As a counsellor myself I see every day how children spoil their own life coz their parents have taught them to be so by meeting their demands and now when they are grown up, when parents reject or refuse, they rebell and want to do things their own way and that ends them up in such a mess the parents cant even imagine. Its really surprising not only us but to the parents also when they get to know what are the things their child is involved in!!!! and the worst part is many of the parents dont accept (Defence mechanism you see!!!) that they are at fault and they are the reason for their child to become so. They still continue to blame the child yell , scream and punish to add on to the damage already done. Its really a sad society!

  2. thanks lona for the valuable comment