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.

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  1. raising-bella Report

    Great article. I truly believe that explaining things to children is the way to go. And like you said, at first maybe they won’t understand, but as time goes on and you remain consistent with your message, children begin to absorb the information and make decisions based on those explanations, be it conscious on not. This also ties into what I explained in my blog about “appreciation.” An appreciation for the things they have goes a long way to helping figure out the difference between, need and want.

  2. sunsetflamingo Report

    Our four-year-old wants everything she sees, of course! We simply tell her that “We can’t have everything we want when we want it; sometimes we have to wait,” and, “You sure do have a lot of toys at home. When we give some to little boys and girls who don’t have as much as you, we’ll get you some more toys,” and “No, we don’t need that today.” We’ve always done this with her, even when she was a baby, so although she *wants* lots of things, she understands that she doesn’t have to have them, at least not now, and maybe not at all. 🙂 I also keep a list of things she asks for repeatedly so that when she deserves a reward, or it’s birthday time or Christmas, etc., she’ll get some of the things she really likes. Works for us. 🙂

  3. trois3 Report

    ohh that was a piece of problem i am having with my son
    he decides in our house what to be purchased like tv, games, books, etc
    so i love him so much , i yield , thanks mercy for the good article

    but he is grown up now, what he need and knows the diff between need and want



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