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Just say "NO"!

Updated on February 22, 2013
debbiepinkston profile image

Debbie is a licensed counselor in the state of Arkansas. She lived in Venezuela and worked with a local orphanage there for many years.


"No" isn't Necessarily a Bad Word

Parents have a tough job, probably the toughest job on earth. They love their children and they want what's best for them, and strive everyday to give them what they need. Unfortunately sometimes parents mistakenly think that being a good parent involves giving their child everything he or she wants, and they work tirelessly to provide the child's every wish.

I have seen parents allow their small children to stay up until late at night because they didn't want to go to bed. A couple I know allowed their daughter to keep her pacifier until she was 5 years old, in spite of the fact that she got repeated throat infections and her pediatrician advised them to remove the pacifier. They said they couldn't bear to hear her cry when they tried to take it away!

Permissive parents allow their children to beg, whine and manipulate them until they get what they want. They feel like bad parents when then say no and eventually change their no to a yes. Children learn the tricks to getting what they want and the greater lesson is that they will get everything they want in life. This creates selfish adults who can't handle the harsh reality of life: You don't always get what you want!

Some parents give their teens whatever they ask for and even go into debt to provide the latest iphone, ipad or laptop. Cars are often a graduation gift to kids who haven't worked a day in their life and haven't been good students. Somehow parents feel that they owe it to their kids. When parents learn to say "No, I'm sorry" or "We can't afford it", teens learn to wait and to work to get what they want. They learn that things don't come easy, and take effort. They learn the value of delayed gratification instead of instant gratification. They also learn resourcefulness, and may find ways to earn money to buy what they want, such as sell old toys, wash cars for neighbors, or rake leaves.

Sometimes kids want to participate in social activities that aren't necessarily good things, such as late night parties, or road trips with other teens and no adult supervision. If parents don't have the backbone to say no when the circumstances are obviously not in the best interest of the child, the child's safety is put at risk and parents may regret it for the rest of their lives. Most parents who have lost a teen to drugs or a car accident would say that they should have said "No" to their teen's request and they would still be alive today.

There were times when I should have said "No" to my kids, but didn't. Fortunately they survived and make wise choices in the end, but I know that I should have said no many times when I said yes instead.

As a parent of a child or teen, saying "No" is sometimes the most loving thing you can do.


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    • debbiepinkston profile image

      Debbie Pinkston 2 years ago from Pereira, Colombia and NW Arkansas

      Thank you for your thoughts. NO is often the most loving word to use.

    • Joyette  Fabien profile image

      Joyette Fabien 2 years ago from Dominica

      Great hub! I agree with you absolutely. We all have to learn to say no sometimes out of love. If we truly want the best for our children we must nurture them and teach them sound values. To protect them and help them develop into strong adults, we must learn to say no when it is necessary to do so.

    • debbiepinkston profile image

      Debbie Pinkston 5 years ago from Pereira, Colombia and NW Arkansas

      I think we're all guilty of giving our kids a "yes" when they really needed a "no"! Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Richert 5 years ago from Southern Illinois

      I agree wholeheartedly. It is so difficult to say no when they want something so badly. I am guilty. We learn as we go and hope for the best. Thank you. I enjoyed reading..

    • debbiepinkston profile image

      Debbie Pinkston 5 years ago from Pereira, Colombia and NW Arkansas

      Joyette and Amy, I think we have all been guilty of saying "yes" when we really felt "no" and vice versa. How important it is to say what we think and feel and voice our opinions. Amy you're right, especially women were taught to be nice and not make waves, go with the flow and follow along.

      Learning to say "NO" can save a life or save our children from a life of pain.

      Setting boundaries is something that I'm still learning, realizing that I can say "No", and "no more". We do have the power and the right to say that in an effort to protect others or ourselves.

      Thank you friends for sharing your comments. Always appreciated.

    • Amy Becherer profile image

      Amy Becherer 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      You are, without a doubt, 100% right. Everyone needs to learn, the sooner the better, that the world owes us nothing. Children that are coddled believe everyone will love them like their doting parents. They learn the benefits of putting all their efforts into the art of manipulation. When they have problems following the rules at school or using social skills interacting with their peers, they never understand the problem lies with them; it is always someone else's fault. Once these behaviors become habitual, they become difficult to correct and the child grows into an older version of a self-centered toddler.

      Adults, particularly baby boomers, were raised to be "nice" above all else. Saying "no" was deemed selfish. mean or narrow-minded. It created an environment, esp for women, where directness was tantamount to being a 'bitch'. Women, in order to 'fit in', became manipulative and sent mixed messages. This kind of pseudo "civility" causes grief for the perp and the recipient. "Yes" is great when it is said sincerely, without reservation, and "no" is great when it is said sincerely, without reservation. Honesty is key.

      Truly a thoughtful, superbly written article, Debbie, that states the whole truth and nothing but. Awesome

    • Joyette  Fabien profile image

      Joyette Fabien 5 years ago from Dominica

      I love this hub! I agree with you totally! Perhaps we have all been guilty of saying no at times when we should have said yes. However, the child who learns that he cannot always have his way is likely to become a responsible, mature and productive adult.

    • debbiepinkston profile image

      Debbie Pinkston 5 years ago from Pereira, Colombia and NW Arkansas

      Bill, you were fortunate that your parents knew how to say no. My parents also said no quite often and I'm thankful. It makes us resilient and resourceful.

      Debby, you're so right about developing internal boundaries. Until we know what boundaries are, we can't develop them in ourselves.

      Thanks for stopping by!

    • Debby Bruck profile image

      Debby Bruck 5 years ago

      Dear Debbie - Saying, "No" is a must for parents to instill discipline and self discipline into a child. When they are away from parents, hearing that parental voice tell them what is right and wrong can make the difference between getting into trouble or staying out of trouble. We "need" to hear the boundaries from the outside at the beginning of life, until we can gather the strength over time to build our own inner boundaries. Blessings, Debby

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I'm with you every step of the way in this hub! Great points made. I can say with no hesitation that my parents were not permissive. :) It didn't seem to hurt me very much.

      Great job Debbie!