Dear Caring Parent, 

Saying no to children can be hard! I was just talking to a dad about how to not over-spend the budget for a birthday.  It got me to thinking, again, about how hard it is saying ‘no’ to children!  After my conversation with this dad, I thought about other parents who have expressed difficulty saying ‘no’.  I realized that sometimes we parents are very unclear about where a ‘no’ can apply.

I’ve written about this before, focusing on how to say no by saying ‘yes‘.  Basically, the first step is to identify what you really want to say ‘no’ to. Listen to yourself. The second step is to identify where the ‘yes’ is in that ‘no’. You know, for every door that closes there is one that opens. Every time you say ‘no’, there is a ‘yes’. For instance, a ‘yes’ might be aligning with your values, your budget priorities, your needs.

For myself, it has at times helped me to know what other parents are saying ‘no’ to. So here’s my list of things over which parents I know, or myself, have said ‘no’. Use it as a brainstorming list. It might be you’re saying ‘no more’, ‘this isn’t working any more’, negotiating, or issuing a straight up ‘no’.  But as you read it, think about what you would be saying ‘yes’ to in each ‘no’.

Saying no to Children

  1. Buying everything your child or partner wants on holidays.
  2. Being late for everything because your kid can’t get ready on time.
  3. Not having a few hours to yourself once a week.
  4. Getting out of bed early on weekends.
  5. Ordering out when it breaks the budget.
  6. Cussing at your kids.
  7. Gossiping about other families.
  8. Trying to change your child to be different than their nature.
  9. Your kid posting angry personal comments about you on FB.
  10. Naysayers in your life.
  11. Teachers that don’t recognize your kids’ strengths.
  12. Negating, or not recognizing, your own strengths.
  13. Yourself when you aren’t recognizing your kids’ strengths.
  14. Yourself, when you are saying, ‘but I’m the parent, I must take care of this myself’.
  15. A counselor, doctor, teacher, when they aren’t helping.
  16. Developmental steps happening at a specific time (there is a wide range of normal).
  17. Having to be the perfect parent.
  18. The part of your history that you don’t want becoming your kids history also.
  19. Giving up on limit-setting.
  20. Texting while driving.
  21. Relatives that are mean to your kids, physically or verbally.
  22. Being irritated all the time with your toddler or teen.
  23. Having to make life perfect for your kids.
  24. Watching TV more than 2 hours a day on average.
  25. Video gaming til there are behavior changes or avoidance of relationships and responsibilities.
  26. Candy before meals.
  27. Kids not wanting to eat what you cooked that night.
  28. Having to have the perfectly dressed baby all the time.
  29. So many toys that most of them aren’t played with.
  30. “Mommy, we neeeeeed a dog!”
  31. Food in the bedroom.
  32. Extra extracurricular activities.
  33. The $100.00 pair of jeans for which they haven’t worked .
  34. Mud tracked through the whole house.
  35. Glitter all over the place!
  36. Having to get something for your daughter/son every time you all run into the store on errands.
  37. Watching TV during dinner.
  38. Cell phone or tablet use during dinner.
  39. Mac ‘n cheese request for the 5th night in a row.
  40. The most expensive college when they don’t even know what they want to do.
  41. Going to college right after high school.
  42. Not working to contribute to what they want.
  43. Staying home from school for simple sniffles.
  44. Meals without vegetables.
  45. Your child’s tears or whining when they can’t have what they want.
  46. Your children not brushing their teeth.
  47. Your kids making a mess and not cleaning it up.
  48. Physical aggression as a way of solving problems.
  49. Music blaring in your kids ears.
  50. Lots of sugar.
  51. Cell phones or electronics during important conversations.
  52. Cell phones or electronics during family fun time.
  53. That outfit they just have to have, when you have other plans for the budget.
  54. Having a sleepover when they haven’t done ____during the week.
  55. Getting their drivers permit when they don’t show responsibility with safety or sticking to their word…
  56. Getting a car when they can’t pay for their own insurance or gas.
  57. Whining more than 5 – 10 minutes (or whatever your allotment of time is).
  58. Nail polish dripping on the floor.
  59. Not helping to keep the bathroom clean.
  60. Not doing their laundry once they are old enough to carry it, push the right buttons, and empty it.
  61. Not getting a job once they are done with High School, especially if they don’t go to college.
  62. Year books except on the benchmark years.
  63. Bullying of any sort.
  64. Your being the only one who walks the dog.
  65. Totally unhealthy food all the time.
  66. Your kids not helping with chores.
  67. Verbally mean anger towards or from your kids.
  68. Being the only one who can make dinner once your children are older than 10 yrs.
  69. Your boyfriends/girlfriends liking social media pages of your children.
  70. The statement, ‘boys will be boys’ (kids will rise to our expectations).
  71. 1st or 2nd hand smoke around your kid.
  72. Staying inside too much. Of course, you need to define too much.

Hopefully this list stimulates you to relieve yourself of always saying ‘yes’, even when your insides are screaming to say ‘no’. If you want thoughts on why it’s hard to say no and ideas on what you do after you say no, read here. Enjoy what you are saying ‘yes’ to and remind your children about those yeses!

Take care now, Natasha