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How do I teach my child to say no to peers?

Michele Borba
Psychology
Ask your child to choose phrases he is most comfortable using with peers. “No” can be said alone: “No!” It can also be followed by a reason: “No, it’s just not my style.” “No thanks. My parents would kill me.” “No, I don’t feel like doing that.” “No, I don’t want to.” “No. I have to get home and I’m already late.” The child could suggest an alternative: “No. Let’s think of something else.” “Nope. How bout we go to the skate park instead?”

The key is that a child must practice saying no with a firm voice and strong body language again and again until he can do so comfortably with peers. Provide that practice!

Push-over kids usually stand with heads down, shoulders slumped, arms and knees quivering, and eyes downcast. So even if he says “no” to his friends, his body sends a far different message and his words will have little credibility. So it’s crucial to teach your child assertive body posture: hold your head high, shoulders slightly back, look your friend in the eye, and use a confident, firm tone of voice.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.