Teach Your Child to Accept “No” for an Answer

Do you have a child who won’t take no for an answer? No matter how many times you tell them “No,” they just keep on pushing you until you either yell back or give in, or both? And if you’re like most parents, you feel horrible for yelling or giving in, or both.

I want to offer you a simple solution that will help your kids accept your “No” (not necessarily like it or agree with it, but accept it). Why? Because when you do this correctly, they will understand that “No” is your final answer. However, there’s a crucial point: You have to ensure that “No” really is your final answer. So, here’s a tip if you’re not quite sure of your response.

For instance, if your child asks you to go to the park, to Target, or for a ride somewhere, it’s okay to say, “I need to get back to you on that,” or “I don’t know yet,” or if your kids are younger, something like, “Mommy will let you know after I water the plants,” because little ones need clear and timely answers. The point is, it’s okay not to have an immediate answer and to give it some thought.

Let’s say you are clear that your answer is “No” or “Not today,” or whatever it may be. You can give your child a reason, but you cannot reason with your child because they are not adults.

So, when you tell your child “No,” and they ask why, give them the reason you are comfortable with. Then, if they keep pushing, try the following:

  • “You asked, and I answered.”
  • “Asked and answered.”
  • “This conversation is over.”

Then, it truly does need to be over; otherwise, the more you explain yourself or your reason, the more pushback you invite.

Do this kindly, and let them know you understand how important whatever they want is to them. You can add, “I understand you really want to do that or have that, and I would too if I were your age, but not today or I can’t do that now.” Then the conversation really has to be over. It’s more about you being confident in your parenting decision and standing by it no matter their reaction, and less about having a child who won’t take no for an answer.