My parents say NO to me without giving a reason

Good Monday morning to all of you! This is Sunaina Vohra, Youth and Family Life Coach, from Athena Life Coaching. Today’s question comes from a young teenager who has written in asking; “My parents say “NO” to me and they don’t tell me why, there’s no explanation.” And I’m sure, as parents, at one point or the other, we have said, “No I’m sorry you can’t do that, and my word is final, that’s it.” And that could be for various reasons, you could be thinking that your child is too young to understand the reasons behind your saying no, you don’t have the time, you don’t have the patience to do it, or you just think it is too complicated and he or she is going to negotiate with you. But one of the primary needs of children, actually for every human being, is we all want to feel seen, and we all want to feel heard. When you truly feel someone hears you, and someone sees you, it equals to you, understanding him or her, and that’s the message they get.

1) When your child is speaking to you and asking for something that you think might be unreasonable, or you are not going to give him, at least make them feel heard, make them feel seen. So that they feel that you understand what it is that they are asking of you and you are not just shutting them off.

2) As parents, one of our primary roles is to lay boundaries for children. So, if your child is asking to go to a party which is questionable, your not sure of the place she’s going to, or he’s going to, you’re not sure of the people there, or, in some cases, what is going to be served there, it is correct on your part to say no to your child. So it is important as parents to lay certain boundaries. And your child should know, thats your role as a parent.

3) Sit your child down, and in the example of this party, explain to your child that, “I trust you, and I know you will never do anything wrong, and I know you will not break my trust. But unfortunately, what I am not feeling comfortable about is the environment, the place, the people, etc.” So share your fears with your child rather than accusing your child of being stubborn or not listening to you, because that really not going to help the discussion. So talk to your child about your own fears and that you are uncomfortable about sending them to this place, but yes, “I trust you my dear child.”

4) Offer a counter-offer. So if your child wants to go to this party, but you’re not happy to let them go, ask your child, or tell your child that, “I’m happy to make it up to you, you can invite your friends over, we can have a party at home, or if you want, you can take your friends out for a movie.” Whatever it is, that would sort of solve the problem for the time being and they begin to feel better, that, “I might not be able to go to that party, but at least I am getting this part of it.” So it is not negotiation, but it is rather a counter-offer to just make them realize that yes, you trust them, but that particular party is out of bounds for them.

5) Parents it is important to stay firm with your “no.” And, what you can do is offer an explanation, but by staying in your role as a parent, or staying firm. Because what we need to do is, we need our children to grow up to be matured adults, and they need to understand that sometimes “no,” is for the well being of you. And that is why parents say no.

So I hope that helps you, to not only say “No” without feeling guilty to your child, but also to be able to offer an explanation or a counter-offer to your child, so that your child feels that you understand them.

1) Your child feels seen and heard, and therefore understood – “My parents understood what I want.”
2) To lay boundaries for your children, so that they know that there are certain things that are out of bounds for them, and that prevents them from asking for the same thing again and again because you have already set the ground rules.
3) To communicate with your child that you trust them no matter what, and it is the environment you’re not comfortable about.
4) To offer your counter offer, whether is it throwing a party at home or taking their friends out for a movie.
5) To help our children to grow into mature adults, realizing that sometimes “no,” is for the greater good.

So, I look forward to that continuous feedback that comes in, it really helps me to serve you even more.

Action: Have 2 or 3 counter-offers ready in your pocket, for whenever your child comes up with something that you want to say no to.

Take care then, and for any further inquires, you can email me on sunainaathena@gmail.com, or call me on, Dubai number, (+971) 56 1399033.