Saying No to Your Children


Do you know most people find it hard to tell their children no? I know I have a difficult time. My husband does not.

A few weeks ago, my six-year-old son came up to me, and we had this conversation:

Child: Mommy, I love you.
Me: I love you too.
Child: Do you know why I love you?
Me: Why?
Child: Because YOU always say YES, and daddy doesn’t.
Me: I do?
Child: Yes!

I’m confused at this point, so I go on about what I was doing. I started thinking, and I don’t always say yes, so I went back to my son and asked when I said yes.

Me: I don’t say yes all the time.
Child: Yes, you do. You always say, “we’ll see.”

He walked off. Oh, He was right. I always say “we’ll see,” but most of the time, it’s because I meant no and knew I didn’t want to say no because then I would face a meltdown and/or questions on why for an hour.

In his two-minute conversation, I learned a lot about ME (most likely other moms too.)

Learning To Say No

Let me preface this by saying that some things are beyond easy to say no to.

With anything in life, the more you practice, the easier it gets. It was an easy no for us against cell phones too early, going to every classroom birthday party, buying a toy every time we went to Target, etc.

What’s challenging is telling our children no after we have said yes.


  • Our teenage daughter being able to go to a friends house, but she never does her chores.
  • Going out to dinner and on the way, the kids continue to fight after a warning telling them to stop.
  • Spending their birthday money on an item after they broke their promise

Each time we say no, the children have a chance to learn and change the narrative. Usually (once they are finished being mad), they understand why we said no. And once they earn back the item/thing they lost, children are MORE APPRECIATIVE than they would have ever been if we had given them the item/thing without repercussions.

Yes, you read that right. Children are more appreciative.

Don’t Get Them Out of Jams

Have you ever received a call/text:

“Mom, I left my report at home. Can you bring it to school? It’s due today.”

“I need a book for class that is due in 2 days. Sorry, I forgot to tell you today.”

“I got in trouble the last time I wore _____ (fill in the blank). I need a new one by tomorrow.”

When we tell them no, they will learn a valuable lesson early on most of the time. It’s better to say no when the consequences aren’t too high, change the scenario a little on each one of those examples.

Scenario 1, your child is away at college: “Mom, I left my report at home. Can you bring it to school? It’s due today.” You can’t help them when they are at college if they live away. Wouldn’t it be more important to teach them in middle school or high school?

Scenario 2, your child works at a job with a dress code: “I got in trouble the last time I wore _____ (fill in the blank). I need a new one by tomorrow.” More than likely, if they break the dress code at work, they will be sent home, get a warning, or be written up. It’s better to teach them in school to be aware and plan ahead of time.

Our children are capable, creative, and inventive – every time we say “yes” and help them out of one of their jams, we push down those great qualities about them because we are always the ones solving their problems. Just because we say “no” in these situations does not mean we aren’t sympathetic to their cause – it means we are trying to teach them early on before the consequences are too high.

I’m Preparing Them for Life Outside My Home

It’s hard telling my children no. Because in that second, when I say no, I crush their hearts temporarily. I don’t want them to be unhappy. I THRIVE off my children being happy and excited. Don’t you?

I have found we are setting our children up for disappointment by not telling them no now. Life sometimes is not easy, and as they get older, there will be times when will put our children into situations where someone else tells them no. Do you want your child to handle the situation with grace? Do you want your child to be crushed and disappointed over and over again? Because your children were raised in a household where they were given everything they wanted? I know I don’t.

When I say “no” now – I know I’m setting them up for failure in small doses before life gets too hard. I’m preparing them for life outside of my household. I want them to thrive as teenagers and adults, especially when I’m not there to pick up the pieces.

Tell Them No and See What Happens

If your children are anything like mine, it’s an ordeal when you say no. Tell your child no and see what happens. But also sit back and watch as they realize you are doing what’s best for them. In the end, they will appreciate your decision and learn from each situation.

I just told my six-year-old “no” to something he asked me. As he walked out my door, he turned and said, “Mommy, I still love you.” And he blew me a kiss. I’m taking that as a win and will file it in my mommy bank.


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