Know how to say ‘No’ to your kids

Know how to say ‘No’ to your kids

It can be difficult to say “No” to your kids. Kids will often try to manipulate or negotiate till they get what they want.

Disciplining a child is very tough indeed. However, by not disciplining your child, and by being far too lenient with them, they can grow into a dependent person with an extremely low self-esteem. So it is well worth saying “No” to them when you should and let your child grow into a balanced personality.

You’ve perhaps experienced the scenario any number of times when everything’s been going well for you as a family until your kid wants to do something you don’t approve of. You say ‘no’ to it and your child bawls out loud, hoping to convert your ‘no’ into an ‘ok, just this time.’

So are there ways and times when you should say no? Most definitely so. There are many ways of showing your displeasure. Given below are a few ways of saying “No” to your kids.

  • Say it once and say it firmly: When you say ‘no’ the first time to your child, say it firmly so that they understand that you don’t like what they want. Look serious and tell them why you don’t approve of what they want.
  • Explain why not: These days, children can’t accept a ‘no’ without sufficient reason, so go ahead and give it to them. Tell your kid why he or she cannot do what you don’t approve of.
  • Change your ‘no’ around: Combine a yes and a no so that your child doesn’t feel that you never give him what he wants. For instance, if they want a drink, say, “Sure, you can have a drink, but only with dinner.” So, if dinner is still some time away, they will have to wait for it.
  • Don’t yell at your kid: Experts say that when parents yell at their kids, it could lead to problems of emotional development and behavior. Besides, children can feel depressed and have low self-esteem due to this. So, speak with your child in a friendly and calm manner.
  • Don’t embarrass your child in public: If your child seeks your permission for something with a gang of friends, don’t say ‘no’ outright or they might feel snubbed and small. Reason it out with them and try to meet them half-way.
  • Don’t be vague with your child: If your child wants something now or wants to do something now, don’t put off their request with, “Not now, maybe a little later.” After saying this, if you don’t stand by your word, your child may never trust you. Instead of granting their wish “a little later”, tell them to wait for their birthday, or after their exams are over so that they have a concrete idea of the time they need to wait it out.
  • Don’t take all the decisions: As your child grows, they will want to take some decisions, particularly as they get used to the taste of certain foods and sweets, or a new toy they have seen on TV or an electronic item everyone’s talking about. Besides, giving them the power to take one’s decision will make them feel that you value their opinions and they will feel loved. You can also do this when you’re shopping at the store. Pick a few things your child likes for breakfast and ask them to choose anyone. Pick that one just for them to eat and make them feel special.
  • Go with your spouse’s decision: Often, when your child asks for something, like permission to stay over at a friend’s place, it’s not uncommon for your spouse to say ‘yes’ to it and you ‘no.’ This confuses your child and teaches the little one that they can get what they want from the other parent, if not you. So, decide together when it comes to your child, or go ahead blindly with your spouse’s decision.
  • Give your child a choice: If your kid says, “Let me watch a little more TV.” Your reply can be: “You’ve already seen your favourite show. Now, get into bed and let me read you a story.”
  • Tell your child what you want him or her to do with a positive tone: Say, “Come, let’s put away all your toys in that bright blue box” instead of, “No, you’re not going to leave your toys all over the room.”
  • Tell your child why: According to studies, if you reason with your child, citing reasons for what you want from them, they may agree to do your bidding. For example: “Crumpling the newspaper isn’t a good idea. Instead, why don’t we use to make a paper bag?”


Saying no to your child can be hard. However, disciplining your child is important for your child’s overall well-being and happiness. As a parent, you must help your child build the skills they will need to manage when someone tells them “No”.

Good luck and happy parenting!

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