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Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Creative Ways to Say No

Parenting is hard, because we want to give the most to our kids, but its so difficult to find the right balance between giving our kids what they deserve and need and not spoiling them. The hardest is figuring out how to put limits, and to say no to our kids. This post, from Marie Miguel from BetterHelp.com helps people gain clarity with that struggle.


Saying no to your child can be difficult, especially if you know there's something they want and it's out of your budget. Let's say that your son is fixated on getting a giant lego toy, and you know that it's expensive. He wants it, and you want him to have it, but there are a couple of factors that contribute to why you can't give it to him:

1. It's not in the budget right now
2. You'd like him to earn the toy, which means he needs to do chores such as cleaning his room, doing his homework, and being on his best behavior

An effective and creative way to say "no" is not to use the word "no." Instead, say, "I would love for you to have that toy, and here are some things we can do to make sure you get the toy that you deserve." Instead of saying no, offer ways that your child can earn the toy or steps to take to get it. Saying "later" instead of "no" is another option.

Saying no doesn't have to be harsh

Let's say that you're out for a walk in the park and you go to the playground. You're there for a few hours and need to go home because there are a lot of errands you have to run. Your child asks for thirty more minutes at the playground, but you can't do it, because you have things you need to do. You can say, "I'm so glad that you had fun at the playground; right now, we have to go because there are things we need to do." You don't need to say the word no, and explaining can be a useful tactic that'll help you avoid feeling like you're too harsh. Kids are perceptive and understand things that you need to give them credit for comprehending. They're quick to ask "why?" which is part of the reason that explaining things can help.

Being accountable

When a child misbehaves, it's okay to say no to their request. One thing to make sure that you communicate is that they're accountable for their behavior. Let's say that your child wants to play video games, but they haven't been kind to their siblings. You can point out, "I know you want to play video games. However, you hit your sister, and that means that you don't have the opportunity to play your game. If you are kind to your siblings tomorrow and do your homework, you will have the opportunity to play your video games. There's a consequence for your actions." Kids need to learn that "no" can be a teachable moment. Parenting isn't easy, but it's essential to stick to it once you say no because kids need to learn about consequences so that they can engage in productive behavior.

Getting help with parenting in therapy

As parents, we're extremely busy. It can be hard to find time for self-care, but it's crucial to put your parental oxygen mask on before caring for others. Online therapy is a great resource where you can talk to a licensed mental health professional about parenting without having to commute to an in-person office. You can try a company like BetterHelp that offers licensed professional help to fit your needs. Don't be afraid to reach out for help, or even just a place to vent, because while you may feel alone or worried regarding your parenting concerns, therapy is a safe place where you'll feel heard and understood. Your therapist cares about your emotional wellbeing and wants to see you thriving. It's an excellent place for you to take care of your mental health, and get the support you need to be a healthy human being and a great parent.

About the author

Marie Miguel has been a writing and research expert for nearly a decade, covering a variety of health- related topics. Currently, she is contributing to the expansion and growth of a free online mental health resource with BetterHelp.com. With an interest and dedication to addressing stigmas associated with mental health, she continues to specifically target subjects related to anxiety and depression.

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