Saying No To Your Child: Part 1

Written by: Jeffrey Rosenbaum, Ph.D.

It’s important to sometimes say “No” to your child.

Someone once said that saying No to your child is the greatest gift you can give to your child. This seems strange since children like to hear Yes from their parents. How do we understand this paradox?

What children want and what children need are often very different. Children work very hard to get what they want, and parents are frequently put in a position of figuring out how to respond.

When to say Yes and when to say No?

Parents like to make their children happy and also like to avoid conflicts whenever possible. This makes it easier to say Yes than to say No. But is this the best way to help children learn to deal with frustration and manage their upset feelings when they don’t get what they want?

Probably Not!

Children need to learn from an early age that they cannot always have what they want. They need to learn from an early age how to manage the frustration, sadness, and anger of things not going the way they’d like. The challenge for parents is knowing when to say Yes and when to say No and how to make this understandable and predictable for their children.