A woman advocating for healthcare equity while kneeling on the street with her son.

Yes, When

If your child struggles when you tell them “no”, try saying “yes, when” instead. For example, your kid might ask for junk food or more time on Minecraft. Instead of saying “no,” which triggers immediate negative behavior and a stressful power struggle, tell them when they can fulfill their request.

“Yes, you can have more fruit snacks after lunch.”

“Yes, when you’ve put all your books away, you can play Minecraft until dinner.”

“Not today, but you can go to Stephanie’s house after school on Friday, as long as her parent says it’s okay.”

It’s not about never saying no. Work on being more specific and giving your child the information they may not have the skills to ask for yet to ward off potential problems. 

Of course, this tip doesn’t apply when the request is inappropriate, but most of the time, “yes, when” will serve you (and your family) well. 

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