Should Children be Taught How to Say No? Yes, they need to be taught that there are situations where they are allowed to say no. Further, children need practice at saying no. When adults are learning new skills we need to practice, practice, practice to make the new skill second nature and habitual. Many adults will practice having discussions with other adults, so that they know what they want to say, how they will say it, and what possible reactions may occur in the other person.
Most children start saying no as they begin to talk. It is a simple word for them to get their tongue and vocals around. I don’t know about you but when my kids were toddlers I said “no” way too often and it seemed to give them permission to say it on every given opportunity as well. However, like most parents, I began training the “no” out of them. Innocently I would say things like, “It’s not nice to say no to Mummy.”
It’s not nice to be sexually abused either and if a child has been trained not to say no to a person in a position of authority (parent, teacher, police, adult, etc) then we take a risk of our children being unable to tell a sexual predator, “NO! I’m going to tell on you.”
In Say No to Hang Man, over at Toys, Books, Games Protect Kids, I offer a simple game to help our kids develop the skill of being able to say no. Unless your child practices with you, first in a game situation and then later in real situations, your child may not ever be able to say “no” in situations where a “no” is needed.
Here’s some other excellent articles to give you some more tips and ideas on how to teach your child to say “no”:
Teaching Children To Say No (and other safety tips) by Tenna Perry
Have You Got a Minute?
Teaching Children Refusal Skills By Leah Davies, M.Ed.
Tips to Help Your Child re-Handle a Violent Conflict by Megan Bayliss
BITSS of Say No by Megan Bayliss
Kidnapping. Saying "NO," is Child Protection. by Megan Bayliss
Have you ever considered teaching your child to say “no” as a way to keep them safe from sexual predators? Why/why not?
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