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How to Say "No" to Children and Teens

Saying “no” to your child isn't easy. “Everybody else is doing it, why can’t I?” they cry. How can you have the boundary for “no means no” without being the “bad guy”?

When saying "no" to your kids, remember that an explanation is definitely required, and your answer ought to be in line with your other behaviors. Whenever your adolescent asks why she can’t go to the party, tell her the truth. “I know when I was your age, I went to an event where there was lots of alcohol drinking, and I told my mom there was no alcohol there.”

Experience demonstrates to your children that you DO understand, as long as you inform them about the consequences. “I came home drunk and threw up all night, and it really wasn’t worth it.” For younger children, make certain your explanation is within the realm of their comprehension - they usually don’t possess reasoning skills yet, so an answer of “because you might get hurt” will do until they are old enough to understand.

For older children, always pay attention to their side of the disagreement. “Listening” means:
  • keeping quiet while your youngster states what he needs to state
  • maintaining eye-to-eye contact
  • providing positive facial expressions
  • sitting close

Acknowledge why you are saying “no” and what he might be able to do to get a “yes” from you the next time, or at what age you feel their request is appropriate, and why. You might be amazed at your kid's understanding and maturation. Treating him with respect teaches him respect.

To ensure you aren't viewed as simply the “bad guy,” make certain your relationship is open and make yourself available. Few parents today invest actual time with their kids, and this lack of quality time can be the source of teenage anxiety and rebellion!

Motivate your kids by spending quantity and quality time with them. Motivate them not to take themselves so seriously. Lighten up. Have family fun, chuckle, tease, and act silly. When you are both their mentor and their mother or father, you are able to set healthy limits with your kids, and as a result, they’ll feel that your relationship is based on trust and honesty, not “yes” and “no’s”.

Whenever a youngster is disciplined successfully, it gives her a real sense of security in the world that you might not realize as you cope with the guilt of having to put a sad face on your sweet little girl. Kids who are not allowed to "run the show" possess a sense of knowing they're cared for and that absolutely nothing bad is going to be permitted to happen to them, despite the fact that they might still do bad things every once in awhile.

Kids with inadequate discipline are often scared by the sense of control they have over the world. Though it may seem hard to believe, kids don't want to be the ones in control …the world is a frightening place to them, and they need their mothers and fathers to guide them and be their inner strength and security.

=> My Out-of-Control Teen: Help for Parents

My parental rights were terminated. Can this decision be turned around?

In most U.S. States, there isn't any provision for revoking or reversing the termination of parental rights other than under specific situations such as fraud, duress, coercion, etc. Because termination is really a legal concern decided by the court, you might want to talk to and/or retain the services of a competent lawyer who's educated in family law matters where you live to examine the legal court action taken to end your parental rights. If you want help in finding and/or paying for a lawyer, the American Bar Association supplies a lawyer referral service at and the Consumers' Guide to Legal Help at provides pro bono attorney referrals and more.

Should you believe that your rights may have been violated in the termination of parental rights case against you, you may want to inquire if the agency has an appeals process or an ombudsman. Numerous agencies have ombudsmen to assist clients resolve differences with the agency. The names of these offices vary and may include “Ombudsperson,” “Ombudsman,” “Ombuds Specialist,” or the Child Welfare Complaints Office. If the agency doesn't have an appeals process or an ombudsman, you might choose to contact your State Adoption Program Manager/Specialist. If you'd like to take your issues to this level, you'll find contact info for all of the States’ Adoption Program Managers/Specialists in the related organizations listing at It is best to contact the agency Adoption Program Manager/Specialist only after other ways have been tried to resolve the problem at the local agency level.

The Federal government doesn't have the legal right to get involved in individual child welfare issues. State and local agencies and courts make the judgments regarding issues such as child custody, child removal from the home, child placement in foster care, and the termination of parental rights in each State according to State law.

Should you believe that your rights may have been violated in the termination of parental rights case against you, here are a few specific instructions that may help you get your rights back:

1. Get in touch with your local referral service in your area to help you to get a lawyer. This referral service will be able to suggest lawyers who would be ideal for your circumstance.

2. Examine the attorney’s previous cases, and speak with others about his/her trustworthiness within the field. Be sure you have a discussion with the lawyer about your circumstances.

3. Employ the lawyer whom you believe would best fully handle your case as well as your interest in the court system. Be sure you understand what his/her costs will be, and also have him/her clarify other costs related to his/her representation.

4. Provide the lawyer all the details you can about your reasons for wanting to get your parental rights reinstated. Make certain you aren't holding back any essential info or evidence that may help support your cause.

5. Fill out all the required paperwork. Do as instructed on the paperwork, and make sure you get the info completed by the given deadline.

6. Have the lawyer sit down with you prior to the court date, and have him/her let you know exactly what you have to say and do once you are in front of the judge.

7. Appear at court early enough to be able to register. Reasonably, you need to arrive about a half-hour to an hour early.

8. Adhere to courtroom protocol. Allow the lawyer to navigate through the proceedings. Talk only if the judge addresses you, and do so based on the standards that the lawyer should have told you.

9. Wait for the judge's ruling. Occasionally judges will not come to a decision based on one hearing. Don't display frustration or aggravation if the ruling is against your wants. Have your attorney debrief you following the proceedings, and if there's another court date, be sure you have your lawyer show you what's going to occur next.

More info on parental rights issues: Voluntary Termination of Parental Rights with Legal Forms

Voluntary Termination of Parental Rights (relinquishment): Releases a father or mother from all parental responsibilities, including child support. Full instructions & Forms are included.

Tips for Single Mothers Raising Sons

In this post, we will look at some important tips for single moms raising boys:

1. Accept your child's differences.

2. As your son matures, investigate local boys groups or clubs that he could join such as Cub Scouts. Don't be intimidated by such sponsored events as father-child boat races or picnics. Let the troop leader know that with the number of single parent families, you would be comfortable if the den would acknowledge parent-child events. But the biggest benefit of scouting that should be experienced by all males is that initiation ritual that welcomes them into the pack.

3. Be a little creative in helping your son learn guy stuff. For instance, many single moms report concern over their child's using the potty while sitting, or playing with their makeup. Chances are your son won't spend the rest of his life peeing sitting down while wearing mascara. Homosexuality doesn't exist because you didn't monitor the morning makeup sessions! But if you want to get a head start on defining the differences between secondary sex characteristics between males and females, try this: Set out a little basket just for your son. Fill it with a mock razor, gentle shaving cream, watered-down cologne, his toothbrush, toothpaste and a comb. Let your son know this is what most men do every morning to their faces.

4. Enjoy your time with your child by not worrying about whether he is missing out on anything by not having "dad" around. At the same time, try not to avoid "daddy stuff" totally. Even though many kid's books feature animal families raised only by mom, its okay to read stories about all kinds of families to your son. Place a high value on man-woman relationships in order to give your son a realistic perspective.

5. If your little guy is really active, get a chinning bar for his room for rainy days. Exercise is critical for all kids, but in cases where males can't seem to center themselves as comfortably as females, they might need other means of releasing excessive energy. Check out your local store for an expandable closet bar, the kind that has suction cups on the ends. Install between the door jambs of his room, and when he gets rowdy, have your son "do ten." Make sure you tighten the bar so it safely stays in place and show your child the correct way to grip so he doesn't loosen it from the doorway. Start low, but raise the bar as your child grows.

6. Never make your son the “man of the house.” True, you do want to teach your son to grow to be man, but there is a distinction between being the "little man" and being responsible for things that adults are supposed to do. Your son is not your confidant, your knight in shining armor or your rescuer. Especially important for the newly widowed or divorced, correct people if they suggest that now your child "is the man around the house," or that he should "take care of Mommy."

7. Point out the positive qualities in males you see on a day to day basis. This means that even if you're buying your child baseball shoes and the salesman is especially attentive or friendly, point this trait out by mentioning what a helpful person he is, or "Isn't this guy very nice?"

8. Role models are important and will be found in every aspect of your child's life. Boys need men, but not necessarily dads. Just because a dad lives at home does not mean a child is being "fathered."

9. Teach your son your values, but let him express them uniquely. He's a male and will respond to emotional situations somewhat differently than you might.

10. Try not to have negative attitudes toward males, even if you became a single mom out of the most excruciating circumstances.

11. When you look at your son and see his dad's face, it's okay to get a little emotional. After all, if your ex-husband gave you anything of value, you're looking at it. Let your child know how important he is to you.

==> My Out-of-Control Child: Help for Parents with Oppositional Children

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