Just Say No

Setting Limits

The Homework Hassle

You've asked your child to do his homework right after school, but he wants to play outside with his friend instead.

Why you should refuse: You know he gets tired and has a hard time focusing on his work if he doesn't start until after dinner.

How to say no:

  • "No, you'll have to do your homework first."

Typical kid comeback:

  • "Then there won't be any time left before dark -- and I have hardly any work."

Smart parent responses:

  • "If you stop arguing and just do it, you'll have plenty of time to play."
  • "Homework is your job in the family, and it has to come first."

The Younger-Sibling Syndrome

Your older son is allowed to ride his bike to the store or a friend's house, and your younger son wants to do the same things as his older brother.

Why you should refuse: Even if he thinks you're being too strict, you need to focus on his safety first.

How to say no:

  • "No, you're too young."

Typical kid comeback:

  • "It's not fair. You treat me like a baby."

Smart parent responses:

  • "When you're older, you can go by yourself on your bike."
  • "I know you think I'm being unfair, but I'll worry too much."

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