A woman advocating for healthcare equity while kneeling on the street with her son.

Yes, When

If your child struggles when you tell them “no”, try saying “yes, when” instead. For example, your kid might ask for junk food or more time on Minecraft. Instead of saying “no,” which triggers immediate negative behavior and a stressful power struggle, tell them when they can fulfill their request.

“Yes, you can have more fruit snacks after lunch.”

“Yes, when you’ve put all your books away, you can play Minecraft until dinner.”

“Not today, but you can go to Stephanie’s house after school on Friday, as long as her parent says it’s okay.”

It’s not about never saying no. Work on being more specific and giving your child the information they may not have the skills to ask for yet to ward off potential problems. 

Of course, this tip doesn’t apply when the request is inappropriate, but most of the time, “yes, when” will serve you (and your family) well. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.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

Touched by what you read? Join the conversation!

  • Addressing and Reflecting Common Challenges in Asian Family Settings: Starting from My Own Journey
    Addressing and Reflecting Common Challenges in Asian Family Settings: Starting from My Own Journey

    This scene should be too familiar to every Chinese youth: late at night, at the desk, opening homework, a not-that-satisfying grade report, scolding or sighing parents, and the crying child. Behind the phenomenon, is the anxiety of getting higher education and gaining enough competitiveness against peers that was passed on from generation to generation in…


  • The good but breaking on the inside
    The good but breaking on the inside

    My parents are wonderful, and our family is harmonious — this is how most people view our family. “You are an independent child who needs no worrying over”, my parents would say about me. My mother would often recall the days after I was born after she commented on this feature; unlike other babies, I…


  • Stand Up Against Smothering Anxiety
    Stand Up Against Smothering Anxiety

    I’ve had some anxiety growing up—the stress of exams and ever-growing workload—but never to a point where it prevented me from sleeping or other physical ailments. Actually, that’s me in denial. I have TMJ and acid reflux periodically, but stress and anxiety have become so prevalent in our society that we accept them as the…