No, We Cannot Vacation in Africa this Weekend & 10 Other No’s I’ve Told My Son

No, We Cannot Vacation in Africa this Weekend & 10 Other No's I've Told My Son. The importance of saying no and a comic look at some of the questions we say no to.

(A little harmless humor from the heaviness of medicine is often a well-needed break for even the most serious of physician and patient)

I say no to my kids on a regular basis. No, really.

I don’t even think twice about it some days- it essentially becomes an automatic, knee-jerk response. I’ve even uttered it when their request makes complete sense. For example, my son will ask me for a snack, and I’ll say no, and then he follows it up by clarifying that he meant a fruit. I think he’s playing me in these circumstances, personally, because he knows perfectly well what he can and cannot get away with, and also that the guilt I feel for having said no too fast plays in his favor. They usually win over sympathy points in these cases, which they redeem at a later point in time.

I was recently reminded of the importance of this single, powerful word when I read a NY Times article on the benefits of saying ‘no’ to your child. Just the day before, I had said no to my son when he forgot his homework at home and wanted me to hand-deliver it to him at school. I followed his request with a resounding ‘no’, And then pondered the possibility that my bloodline was of of the Wicked Witch clan- maybe a long lost sister. All because I dared not help out my own flesh and blood in his time of dire need. Why do parents experience so much guilt?

* sigh *

No matter how much we love our kids, we must remember that saying NO is ok. It can even be educational on their end. Not everything ends wth a YES. You won’t always get the position you want, or the seat you want, or even the friends you want. Life is tough, but it’s important to experience rejection so that you can also appropriately appreciate positive outcomes. 

Without further ado, here is a list I compiled of the past week’s no-I-will-not’s that my children were begrudgingly subjected to:


No, we cannot vacation in Africa this weekend. It’s closed.

No, we cannot vacation in Africa this weekend. It's closed.

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    1. I agree. I’m following the rule of negative reinforcement. If I don’t help out with this particular need, he will bear the brunt of the consequence (ie getting scolded by teacher or embarrassed for not having his homework), and this will hopefully serve as a powerful reinforcer for next time.

  1. Hahaha, I regularly eat chocolate made of broccoli, and those definitely aren’t for sharing! 😉

    Yesterday my 4 year old asked if she could go skydiving someday soon. Um, no, maybe when you’re like 21—and definitely don’t tell me about it. I’d have a heart attack!

    1. A little daredevil on your hands! I don’t think I possess the ability to actually know (and not do anything to prevent) my child will be skydiving, no matter what age they are! 😉

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