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If you wish to join the Writers Prompt Daily simply use the below photo (changes daily) as a prompt and post a short story, poem or paragraph to your blog. Leave a comment and your link here so that all participants can come to you and read/comment/encourage. Stories below are copyright and are Megan Bayliss' writing around the below daily picture prompt.

Should Children be Taught How to Say No?

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?

Photo courtesy of melodi2 at stock.xchng

4 Response to "Should Children be Taught How to Say No?"

Anonymous said...

Excellent advice Megan. In my view it is good to get away from the historical attitude of parents that forbade a child from giving a no response.

the Brit

ERIK said...

Hi Megan,

You give always good advice. It is very important that your children can say : no. How many things are already not happened because the children don't can say no. It is very important to avoid child abuse.


Megan Bayliss said...

Hi Brit and Erik

thanks for commenting and adding your support for teaching kids to "say no".

I know that this is a rather scarey area for many parents.

If parents reframe it as teaching their children protective behaviours it often seems to sit better with them.

Take care and stay safe both of you.

Gillian said...

Yes, I wanted my two girls to feel they could say 'no' in some situations. I used a book called 'It's OK to say NO'. We worked through the book and discussed various issues.

They were never in a situation when they needed to apply it. Of course, they practised on me at times and I had to meet the challenge of allowing them to say 'no'. I think it helped to give them a sense of agency in ordinary relationships, as well as a tool to use if needed in awkward circumstances.

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