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How to Teach Your Children to Say “No”

For many parents, hearing the word “no” from their child can be exhausting. However, teaching them to say no at the right times is crucial.
Every parent who has gone through the “terrible twos” with their child is familiar with hearing “NO!” from a feisty child for no other reason than they find it funny. Of course, you don’t want your child to say no to everything, and you’ve probably already scolded them for saying no to you. However, even the most defiant child at home can be meek when it comes to saying when they should, especially if it’s to other adults.

No matter what age your child is, you should be working on teaching them the basics of staying safe from folks who would wish to harm them. This includes educating them on proper and improper touching, as well as what to do when someone makes them uncomfortable.

Children are naturally curious, and almost every one will ask about their private parts at some point in their life. As much as you may want to scorn discussion on that sensitive topic, the best thing to do is keep it as honest and straightforward as possible. Children should have a basic understanding of their anatomy, and of course, the younger they are, the less they really need to know. Avoid using pet names for private areas. It is not lewd to refer to body parts by their proper name. But, in order to help them understand that private parts are meant to be private, they have to be at least able to put a name to what it is.

After teaching your child the basics of what should stay private, you should encourage them to say no to anyone who ever tries to touch them in those places or have the child touch anyone else’s. It is very important to impress upon your child that they can tell you anything, and they won’t get in trouble for it. You should do this because predators often shame children into thinking that they will get in trouble if they say no, and if they tell their parents.

Try to give your children scenarios and ask them what to do if they find themselves in the situation described. It can be uncomfortable, but that’s what actually makes it harder to say no if your child is ever approached inappropriately. Children who are comfortable with this are better prepared to say no.
Some scenarios you can describe:

“What should you do if you are at a friend’s house, and their sibling says something that makes you uncomfortable?”
“What should you do if you are walking home, and a stranger offers you a ride?”
“What should you do if a classmate touches you inappropriately?”
“What should you do if a friend asks to see your privates?”
Come up with some of your own and think of creative solutions for your child together.

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