How to Say No Without Making the Child Sad?

08 June, 2020
Q Asalamu ailakum counselor,

If a child wants something, but his parents say no, and they try their best to not be spoiled and realize that he can't/will not always get what he wants, what should be said to the child in order not to be sad? How should the parents deal with this type of situation? Thank you.

Answer

In  this counseling answer:

•Not focus so much on your child’s sadness when told “no”. You may wish to comfort your child briefly to assure them of your love, but do not give in.

•Your child as a human being will face some disappointments in life and your sticking to your decisions will help your child learn coping skills that will last a lifetime insha’Allah.


As- salamu alaykum

Shokran for writing to us with your most important question. While I do not know the age of the child thus I am unsure of the child’s cognitive ability to understand the process of learning “no”.

Learning by repetition and consistency

Children do however learn what “no” means pretty quickly with repetition and consistency. When they are a little bit older, they also learn how to manipulate situations to get what they want. 

As you have written in concerned about hurting the child’s feelings, or not wanting the child to be sad, perhaps this is what may be going on.

Children who are told “no” often learn in time that tears, sad faces, pouting will sometimes result in a reversal of the “no”. 

Ask any parent and they can recall specific moments wherein they told their child “no” only to be met with big, tear-filled eyes that tugged on their heartstrings turning the “no” into a “yes”.  The child seeing that this work often will use it to get their own way. Parents must remain strong!

Do not give up

I kindly suggest that you not focus so much on your child’s sadness when told “no”. You may wish to comfort your child briefly to assure them of your love, but do not give in.

How to Say No Without Making the Child Sad? - About Islam

Your child as a human being will face some disappointments in life and your sticking to your decisions will help your child learn coping skills that will last a lifetime insha’Allah

Additionally, your child will develop the trust in you that when you say something, you won’t always change your mind.  This builds up security and boundaries for a child and they feel safer.

So insha’Allah, please do make your “no’s” concrete and do not worry about your child being sad. Chances are, if there are some tears or sad faces, it will quickly dissolve as the child moves to the next toy or activity that has caught his/her attention.

We wish you the best!

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Disclaimer: The conceptualization and recommendations stated in this response are very general and purely based on the limited information provided in the question. In no event shall AboutIslam, its counselors or employees be held liable for any damages that may arise from your decision in the use of our services.

Read more:

Discipline = Love + Firmness

How to Discipline a Stubborn Child?

 

About Aisha Mohammad
Aisha received her PhD in psychology in 2000 and an MS in public health in 2009. Aisha worked as a Counselor/Psychologist for 12 years for Geneva B. Scruggs Community Health Care Center in New York. Aisha specializes in trauma, depression, anxiety, substance abuse, marriage/relationships issues, as well as community-cultural dynamics. She is certified in Restorative Justice/ Healing Circles, Conflict Resolution, Mediation, and is also a certified Life Coach.
Aisha works at a Family Resource Center, and has a part-time practice in which she integrates healing and spirituality using a holistic approach. Aisha plans to open a holistic care counseling center for Muslims and others in the New York area in the future, in sha' Allah. Aisha is also a part of several organizations that advocate for social & food justice. In her spare time she enjoys her family, martial arts classes, Islamic studies as well as working on her book and spoken word projects.