Sometimes the best thing you can say to your kids is "no."

So, stop feeling guilty about it! Here's what to say when you'd like to give in, but know you really shouldn't. These are from Bonnie Harris, author of When Your Kid Pushes Your Buttons:
  • First, squash the guilt when your child says, "I just can't do it! Can you please help me?" Try saying: "Of course I'll help--But only after you do a practice run." Knowing it's only practice reassures your child that it doesn't have to be perfect, which eliminates the pressure. And seeing how far they can get on their own, shows you where they need the most help.
  • So, what do you say when your kid whines, "Suzy's mom lets her have a TV in her room." Try saying: "Do you think Suzy's mom would adopt me?" It works because a lighthearted response stops you from getting emotionally hooked. And it shows that playing the comparison game won't get them anywhere. But if you still feel guilty, mentally list all the things that make your kid happy, like your near-perfect attendance at their soccer games. It'll give you the confidence to say "no" when you need to, and still feel okay about it.
  • And the final guilt button your kid can press is: "But Dad said it was okay!" Your best comeback is: "It looks like I need a time-out to consult with my co-captain." Showing your child that Mom and Dad are a team levels the playing field, and stops them from trying to pit one of you against the other. If you'd like to go further, the book is When Your Kid Pushes Your Buttons by Bonnie Harris.

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