Helping Your Teens to Say No Effectively

Raising a toddler can be tiring but raising a teenager can be tricky. During adolescence, teenagers develop emotionally, cognitively and physically which is very challenging to some. See Adolescence Developmental Psychology 

During their growing years as adolescents, they may come under pressure from their peers and friends.  Now they are more concerned with how they look, what they wear, who their friends are and what other people think of them. They have hopes, dreams, and the desire to be loved and respected, understood and appreciated. As they spend more time with their peers, they want to be accepted by choosing what their friends usually believes or do. Because they are more independent than before, their friend’s activities are sometimes unsupervised by adults. It may be very challenging to them to choose between saying yes or no.

As a parent of a teenagers, there might be apprehension on how your teenagers deal with peer pressure. Here are some guides on how to help your teens understand to say NO.

No is Complete Sentence

Parents must tell their teens early on what exactly are the rules and its corresponding consequences. Often, no is a difficult thing to say especially from a teen to their friends. They need to seek approvals from others and saying "No" can mean they are out of the group. Explain to your child that saying no means they are in control of their body and mind which is very good attitude. Limits are an essential part of a mentally healthy life. In order to take care of themselves (and to be in a place where they can take care of others) they need to be able to say no to those around them when necessary.

Pay Attention to their Body Language

When they say no, they must say it with good eye contact, relaxed forehead and mouth, and head held high. Practice confidence like standing firm. Also add warmth when saying no by smiling with a relaxed soft face or serious face depending on the situation. This way, they will be respected and will not take advantage of their weakness.

Let them Blame You

If they are being cornered and there’s no way out, tell your kids that they can use you as a bad guy.

“My parents will ground me for a month if I don’t get home on time.”

“My parents drive me crazy. They always call to make sure there’s an adult around.”

“My grandmother would never let me out of the house wearing that.”

“My parents are good people. But after what happened to my cousin, they literally have zero tolerance for drugs.”


Samples of situation when teenagers are saying no by Susan Truett:

Friends inviting them to vape, smoke or do drugs
Friends inviting them to ditch class
Friends wanting them to drive them while they are intoxicated
Person asks them on a date
Person wants to have sex with them

Encourage them to Find Friends who Shares their Values

Having friends with the same values can help them build a good support system. It can help them reach their goals and boost their willpower. These type of friends can accept who they are which will reduce stress on their growing up years.

It is always difficult to say no first time. They need to gather up all their courage to do it at the very beginning of any friendship or relationship. If they are able to do it first time, the second time will be much easier. They don’t need to feel miserable when they are not allowed to join a group or a relationship ended because they share different beliefs or values.  Explain to them that anybody who truly loves or respects them will understand that.

All Psychology Careers 
Susan Truett, How To Say No Effectively: A Guide for Teenagers and Other People
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