Advice Column, Parenting

What If My Kid Won’t Take NO For An Answer?

  • Bill Corbett
  • Category Advice Column, Parenting

If you’ve said no firmly and you’re child is wearing you down, avoid doing what many parent do when they are tired and overworked; giving in just to stop the pleading and begging. Doing so might stop the noise that’s adding to your stress, but it will also teach your child to repeat this behavior anytime they receive a NO from you (and others) in the future.


So let me get right to the punch on this question. If your child is asking for something you can’t or won’t give to them and they won’t stop drilling you for it, calmly tell them that you’re not willing to discuss this issue any further and remain completely quiet if they try to engage you further. Be ready and willing to talk to them about any other subject, just not this one.


If this occurs, the answer is to tell them firmly, “No one is allowed to hit me,” and remove yourself from your child’s access immediately. This means you must go to another place in the house to be away from your child in the moment. If this isn’t easy to do, do your best to remove yourself from your child. Do not hit your child back and avoid yelling or punishing them. Doing so will only reward your child by reacting.


Some parents have reported that when they left the area to be away from their child, the child became so angry that they caused some damage to something in the house. While there is a risk that this could occur, it is better to have property damage then physical damage to you or your child. If their behavior becomes this extreme in response to a no, you should consider seeking help immediately from your child’s pediatrician or a family therapist.


When your child asks for something and you know that your NO may cause a meltdown, guide your child to a calendar and set a date and time in which the two of you will sit down and discuss the request. They may not be happy with this response, but it will tell them that the door isn’t completely closed on their request. This is also a great technique if what they are asking for is big and you need more time to think about it or research their request, such as piercings, dating, cell phones, etc.

Finally, try replacing the word NO with one of these two phrases: “I’m not willing ____________,” or “I’m not ready for you to ___________________.” They put the ownership on you and not on your child. It is also less likely that your child will feel less driven to change your NO into a YES by arguing. When you demonstrate power over your own “will,” or state that you’re NOT READY for them to do something, you don’t have to have a reason for it, or even a date as to when you’ll be ready. Simply tell them they can ask again to see if things have changed.

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  • Janine November 7, 2016 at 4:24 am

    The genius store caeldl, they’re running out of you.


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