Practice alternatives to saying “no.”

Saying the word “no” to a child can trigger anger, resentment, and rebellion. Using these alternatives will lessen your child’s intensity, and they will feel more respected.


  1. *Give information and describe the problem.*
    Instead of saying no, give your child the reason that they cannot do something. They will then likely tell themselves, “No, I can’t do that,” saving you the trouble!

  2. *Accept feelings.*
    Let your child know that you understand how they feel. Resistance is usually lessened when someone understands how you feel—your child no longer feels like he has to fight you.

  3. *If possible, substitute a “yes” for a “no.”*
    For example, if your child wants to go to the playground, tell them, “Yes, you can go after lunch.”

  4. *Give yourself time to think.*
    Tell your child that you will think about it. This lets the child know that you are seriously considering his request. Be sure to do so—your “no” may change to a “yes”!


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