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The Best Way To Say No Is… NO!


The best way to say no is, NO….

No, gets a lot of flak but at the end of the day, when you say it, there is no confusion about your intent.

My 17 year old, Ty, pointed this out to me last year.

Ty is famous for asking permission to do something that she is pretty sure I won’t want her to do. She does this in some of the most elaborate of ways….

She leaves me to make a decision with a mind full of distracting details and a desire not to say, NO. I’m sure this skill will serve her well… one day.

That’s right, I don’t want to say no. I trust her. She makes good decisions. She tells me everything (including the things I probably don’t want to hear…) I have no reason not to trust her.

So, instead, I say something like, “I don’t know, we’ll see, I’ll think about it.” All the while, knowing full well, that I am not granting her permission.

About a year ago, after hoping for a yes and being disappointed by a no, Ty said to me, “mom, if you’re just going to say no, please just say it. I’ll deal with it, but it will be better than putting my hopes into a maybe changing into a yes and then being disappointed.”

Hmmm… that was helpful, I thought!

For your entertainment, here is an example from a few days ago…

“Mom, on Labor Day weekend, can me and so and so, and so and so drive to Randall’s Island to go a concert? I’ll drive so you don’t have to worry about me being in someone else’s car but they will all give me gas money. The concert is called Electric Zoo, there’s a ton of bands playing! It’s like a rave, but we’re not gonna do drugs! You need to be 18 to get in too, but we know we can get in because we all look older. It will be like an awesome end of summer celebration… can I go?”

I looked her straight in the eye and said, “That would be a NO.” She said “yea… I figured.” And that’s where it ended!

If only our kids could teach us how to parent them right from the beginning! 

Authored by: The Rock n’ Roll Doula