#57: Teaching kids to Accept No Answers without issue

by | Jan 6, 2020 | ADHD, ADHD Podcasts, Arguing, Podcasts, Podcasts

Subscribe to the Podcast

agsdix-fab fa-spotify


agsdix-fas fa-podcast

Apple Podcasts

Google Podcasts


agsdix-fab fa-audible


agsdix-fab fa-youtube



Subscribe:       iTunes        Stitcher        Spotify        Google Play



It’s essential for kids to learn Accepting No Answers as life is more comfortable when they can do so. Getting “No” answers is a part of life as “Nos” can come from a boss, teacher, family member, friend, or parent. 

Saying no to kids is an integral part of establishing boundaries with kids as “no” answers help keep them from danger and teaches them self-mastery. 

Parents saying no can be pretty frustrating for kids, especially if they feel that they hear “No” a lot. It’s why we recommend doing two things. First, is telling kids yes as often as possible. Don’t use “No” for something that you could say yes to. Sometimes we say “No” because it’s easier, but that doesn’t always mean that it’s right. 

The second recommendation is to Role-play situations you know will be difficult for your child to Accept No Answers until they are comfortable with receiving a “no” answer. For some children, it may require them to practice Accepting No ten, twenty, or thirty times. That is okay. Sometimes hard things need extra time. Eventually, your child will get to a point where they can accept the no answer without throwing a tantrum, whining, or complaining.

There are only two steps to Accepting No. Step one: Show respect by acknowledging each other. Step two: The child says, “Okay,” and calmly accepts the “No” answer. That’s it. The power of this behavior skills lies in Role-playing situations that are difficult for your child.

This skill works on children of all ages. Many parents will find that this skill may be easier to teach to teenagers than to younger children, with teenagers being able to grasp the power of the skill with little effort.

The purpose of Accepting No answers is not to create children who can’t think for themselves. Instead, it’s to help them learn self-mastery, especially when dealing with disappointment. 

There may be times when a child may not like the “No” answer they receive. Using the skill of Disagreeing Appropriately, they can state their feelings on the matter after they Accept No calmly. 

The behavior skill of Accepting No Answers is coming to Smarter Parenting in 2020. Stay tuned!

For more information about the behavior skills taught on Smarter Parenting, visit the episode podcast page on SmarterParenting.com


Sign-up for a free 15-minute ADHD Smarter Parenting Coaching mini-session: https://www.smarterparenting.com/adhd-parenting-podcast/

Help the ADHD Smarter Parenting Podcast continue. Donate today! https://www.smarterparenting.com/donate-now/

Episode Transcript

This is episode 57. Let’s get started.

Smarter Parenting welcomes you to our podcast series, The Parenting Coach for ADHD. Here to heal and elevate lives is your Parenting Coach, Siope Kinikini.

Hello, everyone. How is everyone doing? Hopefully, everybody’s doing great. I am doing great here. Smarter Parenting is actually excited for all the new things that are coming up and also super excited about what we’ve released so far on the podcast. We’ve released a lot of behavioral skills. We’ve talked about them in depth here in previous podcasts, and I invite you to jump back and listen to those. Those include skills like Effective Praise. Effective Communication. The ABC’s of Behavior. Observe and Describe. Role-playing. Preventive Teaching. Correcting Behaviors. Following Instructions. And Decision Making.

So we’ve also talked about consequences in there. So, there’s a lot of skills that you can begin implementing with your child, and in fact, I invite you if you have not listened to those, jump back and listen to those because they are super helpful. We go in-depth, and we talk about them and how to implement them into your own parenting in helping you and your child.

Now today, we are going to be talking about a topic that seems to pop up pretty regularly with all parents who have children with behavioral problems, and that is that the child cannot Accept No Answers, right? Pretty common. And that actually leads to a lot of frustration for parents because the parents know what is good and what is beneficial for the child. And when they say no, there is a reason for it.

So children sometimes don’t get that, and when they cannot accept a no answer from a parent, when a parent says, “No, you cannot have that.” Or, “No, that’s not appropriate.” Or “No, whatever it may be,” the parent has a reason that the child sometimes doesn’t understand, and so they end up throwing a fit, or they become angry, or they act out, right? So helping a child learn how to accept no is an essential skill for them.

So during this podcast, during this vlog, because you can find this both on YouTube and also listening through the podcast, we will be discussing the steps to Accepting No. We will also talk about why it’s important for your child to learn Accepting No, learn how to accept no appropriately. So we’ll be talking about that.

This actually is a super important subject for a lot of parents, and it’s a touchy subject for parents. Now, the reason that I asked you previously to go back and listen to the previous podcasts is because we’re going to be using a lot of Role-playing during this skill of Accepting No. Role-playing is actually going to be essential in helping your child learn how to respond to Accepting No Answers. So you’re going to depend a lot on your ability to Role-play effectively with them.

So, let’s jump right into it. Let’s talk about the skill itself. Let me give you the steps to the skill because we want you to be able to understand them. And the steps are actually really simple. There’s only two steps. So the first step is you’re going to demonstrate respect by acknowledging each other. So first step is to demonstrate respect by acknowledging each other.

You want your child to acknowledge you, and you want to acknowledge your child. So you’re getting their attention. You’re not doing it in a mean way or anything like that, but you are getting each other’s attention so you know that you are communicating about something that’s important. Or, depending on the culture that you may come from, that may look a lot of different ways.

So eye contact is usually the western form of showing that you are paying attention and communicating well. In some cultures, it’s not making eye contact, body position. So this is flexible to whatever cultural situation that you may be in, but the goal is to demonstrate respect by acknowledging each other. And what I love about this description on this first step is the idea of demonstrating respect because we want to demonstrate respect. We want to display it. We want to model respect in our communication with our child.

So step one, demonstrate respect by acknowledging each other. Step number two, which is the last step, is that the child will say, “Okay,” calmly to what you’ve said no to. Okay. Accepting No. So that’s it. And it sounds super simple, but again, this is where the complexity and the artistic side of using this skill is going to come in handy when you Role-play this.

Take, for example, a situation where you would normally say no to your child. Let’s say your child asks you at the store for a toy, right? And they’re like, “Mom, can I have this toy?” So you say, “No,” and then they act out. You’re going to actually Role-play that scenario at home with your child going through the exact same scenario with them. You’re going to work with them in that scenario if that is the issue that you want to focus on.

So you would bring in your child, you would explain, “Okay, we’re going to practice this skill. This is how we’re going to do it. There are two steps to it, so it’s super easy for you to do. First, we’re going to demonstrate respect by acknowledging each other.” And you can decide how that’s going to look with you and your child making eye contact a touch on the shoulder to remind them that you’re communicating and that you guys are acknowledging each other in a respectful way. And then the child is going to say, “Okay” to when you say, “No.”

You would bring in your child and you’d say, “Okay, so when we were at this store last what I notice is you asked me for a toy, and I said, “No,” and then you threw a fit. You stomped your feet. You rolled around on the ground. You started to cry. You yelled. You started hitting the shopping cart.” So I’m describing the behaviors, and this is part of Observe and Describe the behaviors that were exhibited then.

Then you’re going to explain, “Okay. So going to practice this. When I say, “No,” you are going to say, “Okay.” We’re going to practice this together, and I am going to be you, and you’re going to be me.” So you’re going to practice this first time with the parent being the child and the child being the parents so that you’re going to Role-play this.

You’re going to say, “Hey, I want a toy,” and the child’s going to say, “No,” and you are going to demonstrate how to do it. You’d say, “Okay.” Now, say, “Okay” calmly. Okay, and then that’s it. Nothing else, just okay, nothing else happens after that. Once the child sees you do this, then you’re going to say, “Okay, now we’re going to switch it up, and I am going to be me, and you’re going to be you. You’re going to ask for a toy. I’m going to say, “No,” and you are going to do exactly what I did, which is say, “Okay,” calmly.”

So then you Role-play that and you Role-play that multiple times. You Role-play that until it becomes almost second nature. Now, I know a lot of parents are like, “Holy cow, that’s just seems so simple. Like really that’s it?” It really is. That’s it. Because when you Role-play things, as we explained in the previous podcast about Role-playing, this actually creates connections in your child’s brain on how to behave when they hear certain things and when they experience certain things. So the more effective you can Role-play this, the better off you’re going to be.

Now, what I would recommend in practicing this skill is actually saying, “Okay, now we’re going to go to the store, the actual store, and we’re going to practice it there. We’re going to practice it, and we’ll see how well you do.” And then you go to the store, you practice it, and you would see how well they do with it. You’d make corrections along the way. But again, what we’re doing is we’re training, we are teaching, we are helping your child understand. This is the way you respond to, “No.”

Now, of course, I’ve worked with too many parents to know that they’re going to be like, “Okay, wait a minute. There’s more to this because they’re going to freak out. They’re going to whatever. They’re going to behave badly. They’re going to throw a tantrum.” I get that. Our goal actually in teaching this skill is teaching them the central way to respond to when someone says, “No.”

Now, this leads me into why it’s important for your child to learn this skill. Why is it essential for your child to learn this skill? First off, it demonstrates respect. It demonstrates respect for other people and for boundaries that may exist. When an adult is talking with another adult, and the adult says, “No.” No means “No” and they need to know that’s it. They can’t be throwing tantrums. They can’t be trying to coerce or trying to trick or trying to manipulate other people. No means, “No,” and you need to say, “Okay,” and leave it alone. That’s just the way it should be.

When children grow up to become adults, this type of behavior that they’re exhibiting by throwing tantrums, by acting out, is not going to serve them at all in the future. They may actually switch it up as they get older when they realize, “Hey, I can’t throw a tantrum that way, but I’ll throw it another way.” That’s not going to serve them at all. No means no. And when someone else says, “No,” you say, “Okay,” and you can accept that.

Now, that leads to a discussion. What if you disagree? There is a different skill, and it’s called Disagreeing Appropriately, and we will discuss that later. Which I hope you will tune in for that because that actually is a fascinating skill to learn, and these go hand in hand. However, when someone initially says, “No” to something, your child has to learn how to accept no as an answer.

They have to know how to accept it appropriately, how to reflect that in their body language and in their behaviors. They have to learn how to do that. It is super, super important for your child to understand this concept. Accepting No when somebody is telling them no.

Now, we get told “No” a lot. All of us get told, “No.” We can ask for things, that’s great, and we get told, “No,” but we all need to learn how to accept it appropriately. And by doing this, by Role-playing this with your child, your child will learn how to Accept No more effectively and appropriately. You’re actually providing them a blueprint and a map for how to behave in a situation where somebody says, “No” to them.

The goal of Accepting No is to help your child understand specifically how to respond when someone says, “No.” It’s specifically to something that they want or something that they really desire, and that will help you curb any of the other behaviors that may escalate or manifest because they can’t deal with hearing the answer, “No.”

I know for most parents, at least the parents that I’ve worked with, I always counsel them to be very cautious about how often they use, “No.” There are things you absolutely need to say, “No” to. However, if you can say a yes to something, you should, right? You should be saying, “Yeah, if this is okay and yeah, absolutely.” And not to always move towards “No.” No should be reserved for those things that are absolute nos. And the other things are things that you say yes to or, “Hey, well let’s use Effective Communication to talk about that or lets Problem Solve around that, right?

And that is a more collaborative relationship with your child to where they are not scared to ask you for things because that’s the flip side. If you always say, “No” to your child, your child won’t ask anymore. And as they get older they’ll just do what they want, right?

You want to teach them how to do this appropriately. But if you can possibly say, “Yes.” If you can say yes to anything that they’re asking for, say “Yes.” You want to say, “Yes.” You want to be on their side. You are their cheerleader, their teammate, their parent. You are the connection that they have to the rest of the world. And so you want to be that positive influence if you can possibly yes.

Now, Accepting No is a skill that is taught to a lot of younger children, but also to teenagers. Surprisingly, a lot of parents are like, “That’s not going to work because my child is a teenager.” The reality is, is that teenagers that come into programs like group homes or into foster care that are using the Teaching-Family Model, this is a skill that they learn, like one of the very first skills that they learn is Accepting No Answers.

The reason being is because if they can Accept No Answers, we actually take care of a lot of other problems that may arise in their behaviors. This is one of the very first essential skills that they learn. Now, remember, “Yes. No.” It’s important for them to understand the distinction, and I have already addressed that in the future. We’re going to be talking about Disagreeing Appropriately, which is if you do say, “No” and they disagree, how can they respond in a more resourceful and responsible way that is respectful of your relationship and of your connection with each other?

Super, super great. Now, in Accepting No, it works for young children and for teenagers. It also works for adults, right? It also works for adults in order to understand boundaries and really demonstrate respect, and that’s how you want to approach it. You do want to explain to your child the importance of Accepting No. And you want to use examples in your own life where you have to Accept No.

Now, you may actually have experiences where you and your partner or your spouse or your boss, they have said, “No” to you, and how do you respond to that? For adults, we don’t really think about all the times we are told no, but we are told, “No,” and we have learned how to deal with it and how to do it, how to work with it, and accept it appropriately.

So you can use those as examples to help your child understand that even you as an adult are still Accepting No. I remember in working with a family where we were discussing this, and we were using that idea of the parent explaining that they still have to Accept No for different people and the parents didn’t feel like anybody ever told them, “No.”

They’re like, “Well, nobody ever says no to me.” And it’s like, “Well, I want you to think about that. Does your boss ever tell you, “No” for something that you are asking for?” And they were like, “Yeah.” And I’m like, “But let’s take it a step further. Do you ever tell yourself no, and how do you accept that?” And it’s like, “Yeah.”

What the parents were able to realize is that as we grow up and we self-regulate, sometimes we as adults in our own selves have to say, “No” to ourselves. For example, I would love to have dessert for dinner. I would. However, my brain says, “No, you should not do that because you need to have nourishment, because desserts will not give you the nourishment that you need. So then it’s like, “Okay, but I’m an adult, and I can do what I want. But no. No means no because my body needs what it needs. And so we’re setting up good boundaries there, and no means no. So I’ll have my proteins, I’ll eat something healthy and then I’ll have my dessert.”

So even as adults, we’re Accepting No as we get older. I was working with a family with a young child in teaching and learning the skill. What we found most effective was we would Role-play it at home until the child was able to do it. And we had to do it probably about eight, nine, ten times before the child actually incorporated it and was able to do this effectively.

And then we went to the store where this is where the problem was occurring, and we practiced it at the store. Now the store, it was very different because the environment was all around, and there were so many things that were triggering her emotions. And so we had to practice that actually probably 15 times, maybe like over and over and just helping her.

We had to refocus her and bring her back on task so she could remember. And again, this is something for ADHD children that you’re going to have to keep in mind. You’re going to have to refocus them back on the main topic of what you are practicing because they may actually jump around such as refocusing. And because it’s such a short skill, they’re going to be able to pay attention.

Now, with this young girl, we were able to practice it about 15 times or so. Then we went back home, and we practiced it again, and then the mom took the child and told her before they actually went to the store, “Okay. We’re going to go to the store now, and we’re going to see how well you do in Accepting No.” And so they went into the store and mom had already predetermined that if she did not Accept No appropriately in the store, they were going to leave and practice at home again.

So they went into the store and the child had a meltdown and could not Accept No. So the mom and the child came back into the car, and the child actually was able to calm themselves down. She was able to say, “Wait a minute. Okay, I’m not in the store. I can’t throw a tantrum. Nobody’s paying attention. I’m screaming. Okay, that’s not working.” And so the mom said, “Okay, we can go back in the store if we practice it here, and then if I see that you do it there, then we’re going to be fine inside the store.”

So they practiced it in the car, the skill, and they did it multiple times again. Then when they went to the store, they said, “Okay. Ask me for a toy, and I’m going to say, ‘No,’ we’ll see if you can do it.” And so she did. Mom said, “No,” and she was like, “Okay,” and then that was it. And so mom praised her, gave her Effective Praise, and they continued on their way, and she was able to get her shopping done.

She actually counted that as a huge victory even though we had to do it multiple, multiple times before the child was able to do it. Now, your child may not be that defiant in learning the skill. All children are different, and you’re going to be able to measure that. Some children actually learn it fairly quick. In fact, teenagers when I was working in group homes, they actually grasp this really quick, and when they started acting out, all I would need to do is remind them, “Hey, you’re not Accepting No.” And they’re like, “Oh.” And accepting no for some reason was a trigger word for them. They’re like, “Oh,” and then they would be able to do it from there.

So it depends on your child. Some children are going to need a lot of focus like this young girl did and some are going to need less, but you’re going to have to refocus. Now, for ADHD children, again, the most important aspect of this is refocusing your child on what’s happening at the moment with the skill that you are teaching.

Do not follow them into their tantrums or into their random thoughts because they’re going to try and lead you outside of Accepting No as a skill. Remain focused on Accepting No, and you’re going to teach this and you’re going to practice it over and over and over again until they start hearing it in their head, “When my mom says, “No,” this is how I react to no behavior. No, this is what I’m going to do.” Okay? It needs to become second nature to them, and that is going to be very helpful. This is a skill that is super helpful for schools for children with ADHD going to school and the teacher is saying, “No” and helping them know how to respond. What we are doing with all these behavioral skills we are helping your children know exactly what to do in certain situations through Role-playing, practicing, and giving them very specific steps.

For this skill for Accepting No, again, there are only two steps, which is demonstrate respect by acknowledging each other and then say, “Okay” calmly. Right? That’s it. So it’s not a lot for your child to remember, but you may actually want to have it printed out or written out so your child can see it and refer to it often. And you may want to do that so you can use it as well.

So, Accepting No. We’re going to jump more into Accepting No, because there’s just so many facets. It’s an amazing skill. It really is because it’s so simple, and yet it’s pretty complex in a way that you Role-play it and practice it and incorporate it into your child’s behavior. But it’s one that will be essential for their success in the future,.essential for their success. And for your success as a parent. So let’s practice this skill.

In fact, take some time and practice this skill with your child, Accepting No. Remember, demonstrate respect by acknowledging each other and then the child says, “Okay” calmly. Those are the steps. That’s it. All right? That’s it for me.

Again, I am coaching people, so if you want a free 15-minute coaching session, contact me through the Smarter Parenting website and sign-up for Coaching so we can coach you.

I can actually help take your situation, and we can tweak it so we can fit it to what exactly is happening with you and your child. I’m here to help you and I am super excited to reach out through the mini-coaching. And I’m grateful for those who have actually reached out for Coaching because I’ve made some great friends from across the world who have sought out some counseling. Some help in tweaking these skills to make them fit their specific situations, and answering specific questions that they have about it. Sign-up for a mini-coaching session on the Smarter Parenting website. That’s it for me, and I’ll see you again later. All right. Bye.


Behavior skills of the Teaching-Family Model

The Teaching-Family Model

Ep #46: Understanding the ABC’s of Behavior

Ep #47: Mastering Observe and Describe

Ep #48: What it takes to change behavior

Ep #49: Compound effect of Effective Communication

Ep #50: Changing behavior through praise

Ep #51: Finding Success with Preventive Teaching

Ep #52: How to fix negative behaviors

Ep #53: The importance of Following Instructions

Ep #54: Teaching kids to make better decisions

Ep #55: Reducing bad behavior with Effective Negative Consequences

Ep #56: Reinforcing good behavior using Effective Positive Rewards


Blog post: When a child hates the sound of No: Parenting ODD child

Free 15-minute ADHD coaching mini-session

Podcast sponsor Utah Youth Village

Support the ADHD Smarter Parenting Podcast. Donate.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Podcast Transcript

The transcript text is below. You can also download the PDF file of the transcript here.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This
Specific DiagnosisADHD#57: Teaching kids to Accept No Answers without issue