When to Say “No” — and When to Give in

Posted September 10, 2010 by

Do your kids suffer from “BUY ME THIS, BUY ME THAT” syndrome? No need to worry, it’s just a phase they have to go through.

Most kids are like that, especially during the pre-school years. Some outgrow the phase while others don’t. The key to making your kids outgrow it is to never give in to their every whim. Small requests like chocolate bars, cookies and ice cream are harmless; we adults like those, too. But when they start asking you to buy them expensive toys every week, then that’s the time to implement some ground rules.

I think that as much as possible, try to reason it out with them. Explain why you can’t give them what they want. Try to make them understand the value of money and how hard it is to earn. They may not understand you at the start, but regular discussions about the matter will soon give them some comprehension.

Be aware though, of the power your kids have over your own sensitivity to them. They know you love them and that you can’t resist them. So, they will do everything for you to give up and give in.  They cry and we break down and surrender. But just be firm on your decision, and they will soon give up.

Saying that, you don’t have to say NO all the time. I think you can give your kids rewards when they’ve done something nice or have excellent grades in school. Soon they’ll realize that, for them to get what they want, they have to work for it. At first they will be good and will behave properly just for the reward. Eventually, without them knowing it, they will be good and obedient because they’ve gotten used to it.

Being good will become their nature; they won’t complain anymore when you tell them to clear up their things, they will study their lessons even without you urging them to do it. They will soon outgrow the “BUY ME THIS, BUY ME THAT” syndrome.


Mercy is a 40-year-old widow with three kids ages 11, 8 and 5. Mercy is from Las Pinas City, Philippines and she’s been writing since she was 18. She started writing about parenting and child behavior after her first child was born.

Popular on Empowering Parents

Reader Comments


Join our NEW Total Transformation® Learning Center!

Practical, affordable parenting help starting at $14.95/month BECOME A MEMBER TODAY!

Empowering Parents is the leading online resource for child behavior help


Parent Coaching Sessions

7.5 Million

Global Visitors

10+ Years

Helping Families