As parents we teach our children many things to keep them out of harms way. When they are small we instruct them on how to safely cross the street and tell them not to talk to strangers. As they get older we talk to our kids about drinking, drugs and sex. But how many of us think to talk to the kids about how to say no?
Back in the Regan years, Nancy Regan as first lady took on the cause of illegal drugs with the campaign, “Just say No”! Comedians had a field day with the phrase. As adults we all know someone who for whatever reason has a hard time saying no. If adults have a hard time saying no how can we expect our children to say no?
A friend who is a family counselor has a saying she uses all the time. “No is a healthy word”. Here is how to talk to your kids about how to say no and make it heard.
- Say the word No, loud and clear. Don’t say I don’t think so, or maybe, or let me think about it. The word no has power and leaves no mistake or interpretation about what is meant.
- Say No like you mean it. Say it loud and clear. Don’t say it softly or mumble or under your breath. If the other person doesn’t hear or acts like they don’t heard the word no, say it again louder.
- Use your body language to convey the message. Face the other person and look
that person directly in the eye. Be serious with your facial expressions. Use your
entire body to say NO.
- Don’t waiver. Once you say no stick to it. Don’t give in when the other person
starts to wine, beg, threaten or tries to manipulate you. Repeat the phrase “I said
NO.” If the other person continues to try to get you to change your mind, walk
- Practice saying NO. Role play with your kids using different scenarios. Talk with them about past situations when they really didn’t want to do something but gave into peer pressure.
- Have them practice saying NO in front of a mirror. The more we do anything the easier it becomes.
- Talk to your child about who they are; what their values, morals and convictions are. It’s easier to say no when one has thought about the issue, be it smoking, cheating on a test or being a virgin.
- Set a strong example for your kids. Don’t be coerced into doing something you don’t want to do.
- And always remember “NO” is a healthy word.