Love Your Child? Tell Them “No”!

Brian Thatcher
3 min readJul 1, 2021

It seems like from the time they began to talk, my kids have never stopped asking my wife and me for things. It’s always, “Dad, can I have a cookie?” or “Mom, can I have a snack?” or, after Mom says, “No”, “Dad, can I have a snack?” The requests are never ending.

As a rookie parent, I first began to give in to these requests. My thinking was, “If I give them a cookie, they’ll shut up.” Because the goal of any parent is to have quiet at home, right? Anyway, I was initially proud of my clever thinking and thought I had this parenting thing figured out. Turns out I was wrong.

As time progressed, the kids started to request more and more things. One cookie wasn’t enough. Now they wanted two cookies or a cookie and a snack. Then two cookies and a snack. Then two cookies, a snack, and a nice cheese tray to finish the experience off. I found that the more I said, “Yes”, the requests grew in frequency and caliber. Something had to be done, but what. Fortunately, I married a good woman who knew just what to do. She started telling them “No”.

This concept may be difficult for some parents (like me). After all, don’t we want to be the “Cool Mom and Dad” who all the kids like? Sure we do. Nobody like a party pooper. However, nobody like a spoiled brat either and that’s where “Yes” kids almost always seem to end up. A child that grows up hearing “Yes” will have a very hard time accepting the fact that the rest of the world generally doesn’t give a flying hoot about them and will have no problem telling them “No” once the child leaves the nest. The “Yes Kid” won’t know how to handle rejection and, most likely, have a very hard time getting very far down the Road of Success.

The reason some parents (like me) have a hard time telling their kids “No” is because of what follows afterward. Generally speaking, a parent can expect crying, yelling, tantrums, favorite obscenities, wild accusations, and being told how much they’re hated by said child or group of children. Being on the receiving end of this is never fun, but becomes almost unbearably uncomfortable when done in a public setting. I believe we’ve all seen a child crying and pitching in the middle of a store while their parent frantically tries to hush them. It’s embarrassing to say the least. When I’ve been that parent, I can’t tell you just how badly you want to run away (with or without the child at that point) because you feel like the worst parent on the planet and everyone looking at you has come to the same…

Brian Thatcher

Husband, father, accountant, and article writer.