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Parenting Your Teenager: How to Say NO!

Q: Whenever we tell my daughter "no," she just bugs and pesters until we give in. I know it's wrong to give in, but she makes things so unpleasant that we give in just to make peace. How can we turn this situation around?

A: You have a problem. Your daughter knows that your nos are not to be taken seriously. When you say "no" and then give in to the inevitable hassling and begging that follows, you teach your daughter that "no" does not mean "no."

She has learned that no really means

"I just haven't bugged and hassled and manipulated and pressured my parents enough to get to yes, so I now need to do more."

And every child I have ever known is more than up to that task.

It is possible to turn this situation around; you just have to be willing to commit to see this through to the end, because you are in for a battle.

Preparing to say NO

As you begin to say "no," your daughter is going to respond with a flood of what's called "change back behavior." She has had it made for a while now, and she is not going to give this up easily.

There is a very important reason I stress seeing this through to the end.

If you begin to say "no," hold your ground longer than before, and then give in, you have made the situation even worse than before.

So count the cost before you begin, agree together to say "no," stand your ground, and batten down the hatches.

This is going to take a while.

While you are saying "no," it's useful to consider together what things to which you can say "yes." A "yes" here and there, when appropriate, go a long way to strengthening your "no."

Eventually, your daughter will learn that your yes is yes and your no is no.

For more tips and tools for parenting your teenager, visit parenting coach Jeff Herring's

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