How to say ‘no’ to your child

Saying “no” is an important part of parenting, helping to establish boundaries between parents and children, protecting children from danger, teaching them self-control, and dealing with disappointment.

Establish your authority early

Parents establish authority by setting and enforcing limits, establishing a structure for childhood. The sooner you firmly establish authority, the easier it will be for your child to learn “no” means no.

If you give in to tantrums when your kids are young, you’re training them to defy parental authority. When adults give in, show it’s okay when children do wrong, later even if you react, children will also find a way to resist.

Listen to understand

Sit down and listen to why your child doesn’t want to accept the answer “no”. By understanding why your child refuses to follow instructions or do what needs to be done, you can solve the problem right away.

Remember that being too strict with your child can be counterproductive in the long run. So give them some space and time to test their limits without threatening their parents’ last words.

Offer an alternative

One way to defuse an uncomfortable situation is to offer your child an alternative that is at least as valuable (if not more) than they originally asked for.

But the alternatives should be eliminated immediately if your child throws a tantrum at that too.

Don’t scream like me

An ordinary situation can quickly turn into a war. Children ask their parents to explain why they are rejecting them, while you scream to maintain authority.

But yelling at them only pushes you back to your child’s level, fully accepting your authority. You are an adult, need to rise above the loud things and handle the situation better.

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Toddlers need you to explain things logically. But after you finish explaining, the child still does not listen, the explanation will not work. You’re an adult, and the best thing to do when your child continues to argue is to say in a firm voice, “I won’t discuss this further.” Then back away.

Important: Don’t go back and respond to any of your child’s negative comments. It will only give your child more power, leaving you to come back again and again.

You don’t have to be my child’s friend

The parent-child relationship is a complex lifelong relationship. So make the most of it and focus on the essential role as a parent is to raise your child, train your child, and set limits.

Remember, it’s okay to be friends with your child, but it’s important to set boundaries to teach your child the difference between right and wrong.

Help your child understand the rules when calm down

Explaining things to your child when he’s throwing a tantrum is futile. The time to talk to your child about the consequences of an action is when he’s calm and happy. Sit down and tell your child, “When I say ‘no’, I don’t want to talk about it anymore. ‘No’ means no.”

First, practice helping your child accept saying “no” in a less emotional context to things that don’t really matter to him. As mentioned earlier, offer alternatives to let your child know that they still have other options.

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