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When Kids Say No

post #1 of 56
Thread Starter 
What do you do If you ask your child for help (like can you go and get a spoon for me, or can you go ask daddy if the mail came yet) and they say no?
post #2 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChetMC View Post
What do you do If you ask your child for help (like can you go and get a spoon for me, or can you go ask daddy if the mail came yet) and they say no?
Don't ask but state it politely like, "Please get that spoon for me" or "Please ask Daddy if the mail came yet." You are still being polite and respectful but not giving the option of saying no.
post #3 of 56
I ask again. We have a running joke here that the phrase "Yes, mama" is "music to my ears". So I usually say something like "No? How about a yes mama? I sure would like to hear some music in my ears."

It usually works, in a light hearted way.

I don't push too hard on this with the 2yo, but if it's the 5yo and she doesn't have any pressing reason not to help out I will encourage her to do as I ask.
post #4 of 56
That's a tough question that we have also wrestled with too. We have been trying to parent noncoercively, that is to say we don't just tell him what to do because we are bigger and more powerful & all that. But on the other hand he's part of a family and we help each other out in so many ways; I want him to pick up on that. Sometimes he doesn't. Sometimes there is a "no." But if I am honest I really have to think about why I asked....was my request a command in disguise, or was I really asking a favor? Does he ever have the freedom to say No? Of course he does. And I think that if he has the freedom to say No, he will say Yes far more often. It's sort of a lie if we were to ask "can you do me a favor and get me a spoon?" and then if they say No we get all bent out of shape like Yes was the only OK response.

That being said, I have noticed (of late) that he has copped an attitude of entitlement which is rather sassy....it's as though we can cook dinner, set the table, clear the dishes, wash the dishes, and earn the money and buy the food, and do it all over again daily without him raising a finger to help in an age-appropriate way. We didn't ask for help when he was small (now he is six and very intelligent and competent), and I HAVE heard theories that say kids will want to naturally help out if they've lived a free, non-coercive existence. I get the theory and I think that in ways it is true, but it hasn't manifested here yet. We still get "attitude" when we ask to set the table, and frankly it is truly helpful to have that other set of hands as I'm juggling pans and trying to get everything out there and not burn it, etc (not the best cook, I admit) :-)

Can you tell that I am not helping you at all here? But I guess I am just struggling aloud with you. On the one hand I don't want to be coercive unless it is something truly vital. On the other hand I don't want to raise a kid of whom nothing has been asked. A kid who doesn't know how to pick up his toys and clean his room because he's never been asked to. I want him to have these basic "helping" skills, both to help our own family but to help him as he interacts with the world.

Wow. That was major rambling. Let me focus a bit...

To answer your original question, I guess if you ask them for a spoon and they say No, then you're just out of luck. You have to get it yourself. But I would be talking with the child at some point (maybe later) to make them understand that you say Yes to them a million times a day, and isn't that nice when someone says Yes and helps? Well Mom really appreciates help too; it makes her super happy. Just puttin' it out there, kiddo.

Maybe we're too easy-going. But I do have to run along. Thanks for asking this question. I will continue to ponder and I look forward to others' comments.
post #5 of 56
I do it myself if it isn't something that I actually need someone else to do for me. I re-state without the question form if I NEED something done right away. I try to be careful about not treating my dd like a maid and making her do things that I can actually do on my own. My mother gets really pushy about getting people to do things for her that she just doesn't want to do on her own and I don't want to be like that, I really resent it when she makes does this to me or my child and I find myself saying no to bigger requests because I am so tired of helping her do stupid stuff. Modeling kindness and helping out has worked with my dd and I suggest you stick with that. If your child is older and still not ever lending a hand then I think you should look at what your response is when your child makes a small request and work on that.
post #6 of 56
I agree with phrasing the request differently, but when my son does put his heels down I do it but with a mild (not too emotional) statement like "oh, I really wish I had some help."

I think it is okay to let the kids experience the bad feelings of knowing you've inconvenienced someone.
post #7 of 56
Like other posters I usually say "Hey babe, I need you to go get....whatever.." then I say "thank you!!!".
post #8 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChetMC View Post
What do you do If you ask your child for help (like can you go and get a spoon for me, or can you go ask daddy if the mail came yet) and they say no?
Let's look at the spoon scenario....

If I am busy setting the table and I need a spoon for something and they are sitting down waiting for supper to be served- they better get the spoon when I ask for it, lol.

Refusal to get the spoon would result in a small talk and reminders that we all live here and all have to work collectively to get stuff done that we all benefit from.

Now, if I am playing online and my ice cream spoon drops on the floor - I would not ask them to go get me a new one. That would be me just being lazy. I would not automatically get them a spoon if it dropped on the floor in this scenario either (I might if I was in the kitchen and not doing much). But I would not feel obligated to.
post #9 of 56
I have to admit to my self...."I asked...he answered"
If it is something I need him to do I say "please put your spoon in the sink and the yogurt container in the bin" Rather than "could you.....?"
post #10 of 56
If I ask, I recognize that "no" is a reasonable answer to a request. Therefore, I only ask if I will accept "no". If there's not a choice, I'd say, "Honey, get a spoon for me please." No asking.
post #11 of 56
Dd1 is almost 3. This happens to us sometimes. I usually ask again, always politely. If she genuinely doesn't want to do it and it isn't crucial, then I do it myself. SHe often volutneers help I find though as well. and sometimes me saying fine I will do it makes her change her mind. But I don't like the idea, at least at her age of getting mad and making her do it if she says no. And we model for her as well between me and dh by asking and helping each other.
post #12 of 56
No is not an option in my house . Then again, I usually do not ask.. I say " DD/DS I need you to go do so and so.. thank you!" If I let them start telling me no NOW, there's no telling the can of worms that would be opened up later on.
post #13 of 56
Well, first, as I said, I don't ask if I am not really asking. But even if I told her to and she said no, I'd ask why. She might have a good reason. She doesn't feel good? She has to go to the bathroom right then? If she said she just didn't feel like it, I'd tell her my hands were full and I really needed her help, and I'm confident she'd help me. But if she honestly couldn't help right then, I'd respect that.
post #14 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by mamazee View Post
If I ask, I recognize that "no" is a reasonable answer to a request. Therefore, I only ask if I will accept "no". If there's not a choice, I'd say, "Honey, get a spoon for me please." No asking.


Pretty much all I have to say on the matter.
post #15 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by NellieKatz View Post
We still get "attitude" when we ask to set the table, and frankly it is truly helpful to have that other set of hands as I'm juggling pans and trying to get everything out there and not burn it, etc (not the best cook, I admit) :-)
I don't view this as a "favor" request. In our house, everyone's expected to pitch in so that we all live in the best possible way. That means that everyone needs to help get dinner on the table. For the 2YO, that usually just means putting a fork in the vicinity of each plate, but our 4YO can help a good deal with getting places set, taking small bowls of food or serving utensils, etc. There have been days when they haven't wanted to, and I don't push it to the point of anger or frustration. It's just always been presented as "it's time to do X," and the anticipation is that everyone helps. As our 4YO has gotten older, he's started making comments about not enjoying cleaning or laundry. We're always very honest and say that we don't necessarily enjoy those tasks either, but they are necessary.

As for things that are simple, little-effort-required favors, I say them the same way I do for anyone. "Hand me that spoon, please." If they say no, then I'm okay with that, though it doesn't usually happen. I also say "I would like it if you would..." for bigger projects, such as "help me make treat bags for the party." They do sometimes say no to that, and it's okay with me. It really is a request, and I'm perfectly okay with them not always wanting to help.

So, in summary, I politely request as a statement or ask if something really is a favor. If it's a required job, then it's just expected that everyone participates.
post #16 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by bebebradford View Post
No is not an option in my house . Then again, I usually do not ask.. I say " DD/DS I need you to go do so and so.. thank you!" If I let them start telling me no NOW, there's no telling the can of worms that would be opened up later on.
I don't like the idea of teaching my children that they have no options and must comply with every request someone makes. It sets up a precedent that has some frightening possibilities, imo. My children have feelings and desires just like adults. There are days when I've said, "can you do bedtime alone? I'm just exhausted tonight," to my husband, and he does because we share our lives. My children get the same courtesies extended to them.
post #17 of 56
My five year old son is the only one I've ever addressed this with. I just tell him that even though I'm not going to force him to do anything, that we are a family and that means we do things for each other and help each other out when we can. Just a simple little reminder really. The majority of the time he's willing to do anything I ask, and I make it a point to return the favor and get him something if he needs it. Modeling still works at this age, IMO . When the kids ask if I'll do something for them, like pour milk, I often say "Sure, honey! I'm happy to help you!" as a way to show that helping others is a positive thing to do.
post #18 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by BrandiRhoades View Post
I don't like the idea of teaching my children that they have no options and must comply with every request someone makes. It sets up a precedent that has some frightening possibilities, imo. My children have feelings and desires just like adults. There are days when I've said, "can you do bedtime alone? I'm just exhausted tonight," to my husband, and he does because we share our lives. My children get the same courtesies extended to them.
Well my kids are toddlers and of course they aren't going to WANT to pick up their room, so I don't give them the option of saying no. They aren't adults.. they cannot pick and choose what they do.( granted, they get options such as what they want to wear,etc) It's just in a discipline sense what I say goes. If they could make all their life decisions right now I wouldn't be "raising" them. What if I had a teenager who said NO to a curfew I set? But I respect what you're saying. I just don't run my household that way.
post #19 of 56
its in how you phrase the question. what is your intent. if it is a command then it is not a request and she has to do it - mainly coz its kinda an emergency or close to one situation. if i make a request i make it with the idea that my dd may say no. i assess whose need is greatest at the moment and then either i accept the no or dd herself does it.

my request is never, never, never a command. my commands dont have would could in it. Please get me the big spoon from the second drawer. i am in the middle of cooking. the soup's gonna spill over. i need that spoon now. giving it this difference makes it easier for dd to interpret what i want. no questions asked she does it.

when dd was younger 3- 4 i would explain why i was commanding her. it was a kind of help.

however if i asked 'could you please get me the big spoon.....' and dd says 'oh mom i am in the middle of a very interesting paragraph' then i go get it. i remember how it was in the middle of a book. or 'but mom i really dont want to', so i say 'but please please could you get it so i dont have to get up?' and she says 'oh ooooooooooohkaaaaaaaaay i was just getting warm in front of the heater. but i'll get it from you.' and i'd say 'oh no you continue getting warm, i can go get it.'

dunno there are no hard and fast rules in my house. the only rule is nothing is static. nothing stays the same. i can say a yes and change it to a no or a no to a yes. i have always brought my dd up like that and it works for us.

just because i am her mother and i say so doesnt mean she has to do it. even if its cleaning her space. i feel she should do it, if she wants to not because i say so. sometimes i point out stuff and say how things might get lost like the last time and sure enough in time she does clear up her stuff.

today she is 7. but no has not been an issue since she was 5.
post #20 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by BrandiRhoades View Post
I don't like the idea of teaching my children that they have no options and must comply with every request someone makes. It sets up a precedent that has some frightening possibilities, imo. My children have feelings and desires just like adults. There are days when I've said, "can you do bedtime alone? I'm just exhausted tonight," to my husband, and he does because we share our lives. My children get the same courtesies extended to them.
I agree with this. Expecting my kids to do everything I ask them to do does not feel right to me. They are people, not robots. If I ask them to do something and they decline, with a reason and an explanation, I might choose to either talk about how much I would like their help/how families help each other, or I might choose to tell them it is fine and I can take care of it myself.

I try to be reasonable with them because I want people to be reasonable to me as well. I don't always jump up every time someone asks me to do something and I think that is OK. I weigh what kind of request I made of them and why vs. how they responded and their reasons for not wanting to help.
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