Saying No To Your Kids

I know a couple of people, me included, who have difficulty saying no to their children.

A friend of mine has a daughter who has managed to find ways of getting money from her parents for years. She is in her early 20s now, and still the bank of Ma and Pa is open. Recently, I said no to one of my children who requested something. I then found myself running to my friends and family for support, so I thought maybe it’s time we really think about this.

If you feel that you’ve been the bank of Ma and Pa (that means your bank has been open for them to make withdrawals) one tip I have is to add up how much money you’ve spent on your kids over the last few years. I think you’ll be shocked and I think they’ll be shocked.

Here’s another tip. When your kids ask you for something usually they just ask you or sometimes they do the big setup where you’re sort of slowly leading to the unending conclusion that you need to lend them some money or give them some money. That’s what happened to me recently.  My suggestion is don’t answer right away. Instead say, “That’s interesting. Tell me more.” And then when they ask you for the money or they ask you for whatever it is they’re going to ask you for, tell them you’ll think about it and get back to them.

I know lots of parents who have to deal with children who are not making their own way. They made terrible financial decisions and then the parents are there to rescue them. I think it’s important to decide when to rescue and when not to rescue, what behaviors are you going to reward and not going to reward. So zoom out. Look at the big picture. How many times has your child stood on their feet, provided for their own needs and made good decisions? And how many times have they not done that and how have you rewarded them? It’s important to figure that out.

So if you find that you’ve been rewarding irresponsible behavior, now is the time to stop. Sit down, plan with your child how they can actually move forward, and tell them what your role is going to be and tell them what you’re not going to do.

But most important of all, when you get hit up for money, just say, “Let me think about it,” and then go and talk to somebody who you know will help you be logical about this.

Our children can certainly pull at our heartstrings and sometimes saying no will really help them grow up.




3 thoughts on “Saying No To Your Kids

  1. Jessamine Matheson

    I would never have asked my parents for money. When they came to England to stay with us, and we slept on the living room floor for three months so that they could have the only bedroom, they surprised me by being unwilling to go anywhere by themselves. As we were young and had no interest in going to Scotland to see the land of our forebears, and attend the Edinburgh Military Tattoo, I thought that it was enough that I had to use up my annual leave doing these things, and I therefore privately expected that they would pay for the rental car and the holiday house in Scotland, but they insisted that we pay half. We were poor at the time, having signed an 18 month lease on an apartment shortly before my partner lost his job and we unexpectedly had to get by on one income, so it was a big deal to spend the last of our savings on a holiday which would not have been in any way our choice.

  2. Robyn Pearce

    Hi Shelle
    Great post and something every parent (and grandparent) needs to give serous consideration to.

    You might be interested in an experience I had with my oldest grandchild last year. He was 19 at the time and living with me for 6 months while his parents were posted to the US. Here’s the article telling the story , and I’ve also included it in my latest book ‘Getting a Grip on Parenting Time: 86 commonsense lessons from the trenches’.

    Keep up the good work, and hopefully we might catch up again some time. Another son is currently posted to Ottawa for 2 years.

    Best, Robyn

  3. Jeanne martinson

    my father, if I asked him for money – once I was over the age of 18 – would sit down and say. “let’s see where you are spending your money now so this doesn’t come up again.” that exercise prevented me from asking except in dire situations. explaining my latte and shoe expenses was humiliating!


Leave a Reply

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