Why It’s Hard To Say “No” To Your Teen (And What You Can Do About It)
Sometimes the answer is no.
It has to be if we are going to protect our teens. This is not the fun part of being a parent.
There she is standing in front of you in her mature grown-up body. She tells you, she can handle it. You can trust her. She has it under control. She’s so convincing. It sometimes feels like you are talking to someone who is your age.
But she is not!
Her judgment goes out the window in the right circumstances especially when it comes to boys. Girls get desperate when it comes to love. They still believe in the Disney love story. They are on a quest to find Prince Charming especially since they had to suffer the humiliation of Valentine’s Day without a boyfriend. But you are afraid “Prince Charming” is really a vampire in disguise who is ready to take her innocence from her. And you may be right.
I am not saying this to instill fear, but to keep you wide awake. It takes energy to stay on top of your daughter’s social life. Believe me, your daughter has plenty of energy to scheme, plan and push to see Prince Charming.
4 Ways Your Teen Makes It Really Hard To Say No.
(And What You Can Do About It)
1. She’ll try to intimidate you through her anger
- Belittle you, “You are a horrible mother.”
- Threaten you. “Then I won’t go to church anymore. I won’t study. I am not going to live here.”
- Curse you “You think you’re so f-ing perfect.”
- Yell and throw things.
- Argue, Argue, Argue.
* Her point: If you are scared she is going to go ballistic, you will say yes
2. She’ll mope
She will lie in bed and avoid you. She will try to look as unhappy and pathetic as possible when she eats dinner with you. You say “what’s the matter?” She looks out the window and says, “Nothing.”
Mothers hate to see their daughters unhappy. It’s easy to cave in and say, “Just this time.”
Her point: You are ruining her life so you better say yes.
3. She’ll be sweet
She does the chores without asking and is in a good mood. She wants to hang out with you and even goes to the grocery store. You are so grateful that things are going well; you don’t want to do anything to mess that up. Then she asks you to do something that you are uncomfortable with.
Her point: If you don’t want to ruin our relationship you better say yes.
4. She’ll sound reasonable
Calmly your daughter asks if you can talk. You are used to her blowing a gasket and are thrown off by her mature approach. The conversation goes like this. “Mom, really, why can’t I go to the party? Mom, I can take care of myself. If it is bad, I will text you. I have left bad situations before. You really can trust me.”
She sounds so mature you feel bad for saying no.
Her point: I am being reasonable, if you don’t say yes you are being completely unreasonable.
What you can do?
1. Be clear about what your boundaries are
Your daughter is clear and can be very convincing when you are in front of her, especially when she is desperate. She will try to push you to make a decision before you have thought through it. Often this is the first time you are getting the information and you haven’t had time to process it. This is what she is counting on.
Take a break and check in with yourself. Do you feel at peace with your decision? Are you going against your rules and guidelines that you have already established?
Trust your intuition. Do you need more information to be clear? Are the parents going to be home? Then take action and get their phone number.
You can always change your decisions. Remember your job is to protect her.
2. Stay clear of the drama
Again girls are drama queens when a boy is involved.
Stay clear of her drama.
When you react to her drama, you lose your power and your clarity. You can end up feeling bad about how you reacted and she gets her way.
If she attacks you, don’t defend yourself. You don’t have to answer her accusations. They are absurd anyway. “You hate all my friends.” When she is upset she will not be able to take in your mother’s lecture.
Take a break and wait till she is calm.
This is why God created texting.
Texting is a great way to stay clear of the drama. It allows you to communicate about tough issues and escape much of the drama.
3. Get support
If you say no, your daughter is not going to be happy with you. When she is in full force drama she will make your life miserable, especially if she attacks or threatens you with her words.
This is a time you need support.
If you listen to your daughter’s logic you won’t know what end is up. It helps to bounce your decisions off a sane adult who will say “yes you make sense and you are making a good decision.” Your daughter will make you feel like you are the only mother on the planet who is so protective.
Bring in your partner for support. Call a friend or supportive family member who will listen and help you calm down. Have a friend pray for your daughter. Maybe you need advice. If you are really concerned seek professional help.
Bottom line you don’t have to do it alone.
4. Congratulate yourself for being a good mom
It’s easy to give in to your daughter and it’s hard to maintain a boundary or rule and say no. If she is unhappy with you great! You are doing your job. She needs you to be her prefrontal cortex. She doesn’t get the big picture or understand cause and effect. You are powering your parenting when you clearly say no.
Congratulations! You are a wonderful mom. Thank you for protecting your daughter.
This will not ruin her life. You are protecting her life.
5. Find ways to say yes
It is good to have a little space from your daughter after you have told her no. She can have her feelings about it. She will need time to calm down.
And now this is where you can get creative. Find a way to say yes.
Your daughter thinks you are out to ruin her life but of course, that is not true. You want your daughter to be happy and you want her to be protected.
If you had to say no, is there any way you can say yes?
Examples: Yes, I would love you to go to the party. I just need to know if the parents will be there. Let me call them and make sure they are going to be home and you can go.
Yes, why doesn’t he come over to our house? Yes, I will drive you over there.
This way you have turned the ‘no’ around into an opportunity for a ‘yes.’ Then, it’s your daughter’s decision, if it’s a ‘no’ or a ‘yes.’
The reason for this is, that you are showing your daughter that you want her to have a life but she has to work with you.
***Don’t feel bad if you have caved with your daughter. We have all done it.
But you can wise up, power up, and do what’s best for your daughter.