The art of refusing children. How to refuse, communicate and argue

A child NO is so important, although it is not an easy situation, neither for the child nor for the parent. The art of refusing children.

The art of refusing children. How to refuse, communicate and argue
The art of refusing children. How to refuse, communicate and argue

Every parent wants to raise their child to be an emotionally mature person who will be successful in life. One that deals with the fact that we don't always get what we want or what we want. As adults, we face refusal many times and how we accept it will depend on whether and how our parents said "NO" to us and whether they respectfully respected our childhood refusal. That is why telling a child "NO" is so important, although it is not an easy situation, neither for the child nor for the parent. The art of refusing children.

Why is saying "NO" important?

Each of us would like others to say "YES" to us. When we deny something to a child, the child learns to cope with his own frustration, provided the parent offers him support in this regard. A young person learns to say "NO" to the world in order to be able to say "YES" to himself. It is especially important in adolescence for our child to be able to say "NO" to a peer group when needed - and with self-esteem.

How to tell a child "NO"?

Saying "NO" to a child is directly related to parental leadership in the family. An educator and psychotherapist, quoted in the introduction, believes that we are currently dealing with a declining level. This is evidenced by parents' complaints about activities that their children do not want to perform, and which in themselves are not problematic or difficult. Parents complain of problems with:

  • A child waking up in the morning to kindergarten or school,
  • Time of falling asleep,
  • Food,
  • Using a telephone, computer, or other media,
  • Doing homework, etc.

Adult leadership in the family is necessary because children lack, inter alia, experience and cannot distinguish needs from desires. Use your personal language when telling your child "NO":

  • What he wants.
  • I do not want to.
  • What I like.
  • What I do not like.
  • What do I need?

The already quoted the following elements of the refusal:

  1. Accept that the child wants or does not want something.
  2. Say "NO" if that's what I think as an adult.
  3. To present your position on a given issue, i.e. to take the lead.

For example, a child wants to eat ice cream before dinner and demands it loudly.

œI hear you want to eat ice cream before dinner, especially as it is very hot. But now you will not eat ice cream, you will eat it after lunch. "

For example, a teenager wants his parent to buy him fashionable pants, the price of which is much higher than the amount allocated for this purpose.

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Buy the products

œI understand that you dream of such pants, especially since your friends already have them. However, their price far exceeds the amount I spent on it. I will not buy you these pants now, I can buy them for you in a month (or - I will not buy you these pants, I can buy you another one) .

Of course, when you tell your child "NO", such as "I don't want to give you my computer to play now ...", your natural reaction will be frustration, anger, and even rage. The question that arises then is whether I, as a parent, can stand it. After our refusal, the child will not tell us: œYou know, mom, it's actually great that you refused this computer for me. You're right, I'd better read the book. " When a child gets angry after our refusal, there is no reason to repeat the message "I will not give you a computer" a few times.

The young man heard the first time that he would not get what he wanted. What a parent can do is support the child in experiencing frustration (eg "I see that it is difficult for you, that you really wanted to play on the computer"). Support is being with the child, with his emotions, without our parental anger or indignation. Reaching emotional balance after the parent's refusal may take the child some time - usually several dozen minutes. However, there are cases when the youngest find it difficult to come to terms with the refusal and their frustration lasts much longer.

The pitfalls of saying "NO"

What is necessary for parental refusal is saying the word "NO". Without it, the parent runs the risk of persuading, asking, persuading, and other activities on the part of the child, considered to be manipulation. After all, if our child does not hear a firm "NO", he or she is not entirely convinced of the refusal. He hopes that perhaps as a result of discussions, discussing some details, the parent will change his mind. So he starts arguing to convince us to change our minds.

For example, a teenager asks you to buy expensive pants.

A parent's imprecise refusal: "I don't know, we have so many expenses now, I don't think I can do it."

For example, a child wants ice cream before lunch.

A parent's imprecise refusal: œI don't know, it will be lunch soon. I understand you want to cool yourself with ice cream, but remember what it was like last time I let you eat ice cream before dinner? 

Parents should remember that "NO" is a complete sentence.

If we feel surprised by our child's request and we are not entirely sure whether to agree or not, it is worth taking time to reflect and inform the child about it.

For example, œYou surprised me with a request to buy such expensive pants. I need to think about it. I'll give you the answer tomorrow.

Let us not cover this message with other people, eg "Ask Daddy". Hiding behind someone, we invite the child to negotiate. If we want to negotiate with a young person instead of refusing him immediately, it is worth being honest in this. Ask your child to prepare arguments that may convince you to change your mind. Give him a day or two to do so, talk to him, and if you feel convinced, change your mind. Make sure to appreciate your child for preparing for the interview.


Remember that as parents, we are models for our children. So the question arises, how do I, as a parent, react to my child's "NO". Do I get angry or do I use different methods to respect the child's "NO", eg "I can see/hear that you do not feel okay with the fact that we are going to grandma's for the weekend. I'd like to hear what's going on. " In concluding our considerations, let us remember that it is worth saying "NO" when we feel we want to say it when it is really needed. If the parent agrees to too much and collects coupons of anger or frustration. At some point, he will say "NO" with redoubled strength. Expressing the previously accumulated anger and ultimately leads to an emotional earthquake.