How can I teach my child that it's sometimes okay to say no to adults?

How do you teach your kids it’s okay to say no to adults if it’s something that makes them uncomfortable? I know kids are taught to respect adults, but what if it puts them in danger and they don’t know they have the option to say no because they weren’t taught that way?


I’ve always told my children if someone asks you to do something that you don’t feel is ok, say no. Or if it makes them uncomfortable, they can say no as well.


Explain what you just said, kids are super.


Depending how old they are you always teach them about inappropriate touching. So they know if they’re ever in a situation like that, that it’s never ok. Teach them stranger danger like never getting in a car with someone they don’t know or go anywhere with them. Just use your judgement as far as age and what to tell them. Always teach them that they can come to you and tell you anything no matter what it is.


By repeatedly saying it’s ok. My daughter doesn’t like a game a relative plays. It is harmless but a trigger for me so whether why daughter doesn’t like as sees my body language. It could also be my daughter has her own mind and doesn’t like that sort of game. I have told her she needs to tell that person and explain why. Yet she’s been playing the game with me unprompted. It’s also likely she’s not used to funny games by others apart from me and my husband.

I had a horrible childhood including abuse of many forms. I don’t want that my daughter to go through anything I did.

She’s young, understands, always treated her as a individual rather than each age point. Might seem harsh but learnt so much. Might get if I have to when told please help tidy but she learning from birth is helping her pave a rounded future plus this is the generation to prevent as much wrong doing and say how they feel regardless and don’t be scared.

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We teach our son that saying no is ok. If it’s something like eating, bathing, dressing… we explain why saying no isn’t an option.


We start teaching personal boundaries as soon as they are old enough to start talking In small sentences.
We do not force hugs, kisses or effecttion for anyone.
We tell them yes we respect adults untill they do something inappropriate.
We teach them all the proper names of body parts and those are privet and untouchable by anyone except parents, caregivers and Drs, only if caring for or check up by Dr.

My situation was a Little different my daughter is autistic but I remember my mom always told me
Not to sit on anther males lap only dad
If some touches you inappropriately come tell me and if your in an uncomfortable situation say NO if they persist Run scream do what ever to get away
And always always have a code word only you and your children know and if someone tryed to get them to come with them have them ask what’s the code word is I hope this answers your question

Unless it’s coming from me or their father they can say no and let us know what’s going on, I want to teach my kids to respect others but I’m teaching them to love and respect themselves first tho :ok_hand:t2:

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Code words. If they’re uncomfortable they need a code word or to call a parent to explain the situation and get the code word.

No is no! Within reason. I won’t force my kids to hug,kiss or play games that they say no to. There are certain things that no isn’t appropriate for. Eating, bathing and sleeping. Justin reinforce it at home. They won’t hud, kids or cuddle then that is fine. Stick to the others. You need to adapt this for whatever your lifestyle is.

My children do not have to touch, hug, shake hands etc. anyone that they don’t want (that includes me) for whatever reason they want. When they say they don’t want to touch an adult or whomever I back up their decision, no questions asked. I only require that they speak to people.

You say “it’s ok to say no to adults if it makes you feel uncomfortable or scared” they can understand that at a pretty young age

also teach them it is ok to have surprises but never secrets with adults

For me, you teach your child things like, when they say, no stop tickling me even when you’re playing with them, you stop. It’s teaching them boundaries. If you respect their boundaries, it gives them the courage to speak up. We have to teach our children that when they say stop, we stop. That teaches them their voice is heard. Small things like that teach them that they have a voice. But, adults have to realize kids have a voice too! It starts in the home…


Respect has to go both ways. I’m teaching my son that it’s ok to say no or how you feel in a situation. Children need their voices to be heard too.


I had that problem with my grandson. He had been only taught stranger danger not about people you might know who might not be safe to be around. And to always tell a parent or grandparent whose house or car their going into. When they have gone outside their own home.

Respect goes both ways. If a child feels uncomfortable…feeling safe to say no is essential. Young children don’t have the mental capacity to decipher an adults intentions…so they need to feel they can trust their own intuition.


We started with body autonomy you don’t want hugs of kisses that’s just fine you can say no. We in force this in public we often have people walk up and touch my son and he dose like it so we taught him to tell people no stop. Has he offended people absolutely but it’s his body he is in control. We don’t force hi fives or anything either. However my kiddo has sensory issues so we’re big on boundaries. I will say we have had a few older people get kicked because they wouldn’t back off and he wasn’t having it.

I think you just teach them more about saying no in a respectful tone. If someone wants to hug them and they don’t want to, a simple “no thank you” should be respected by the adult.

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Have to spend a lot of time discerning feelings from values and morals. Lots of things make kids feel uncomfortable but are not dangerous or bad for them. The time you spend teaching them the difference will be invaluable. That being said, it’s a different world than when I grew up. Not easy to be a parent in today’s society.

My son recently told me he doesn’t like when we he gets kissed, including by my husband and myself. He asked me to tell his aunts, uncles and grandparents. We’re trying to find ways for him to say hello without having to kiss. He will give high fives or fist bumps. I don’t want him to feel forced to do something he’s not comfortable with but I am teaching him to be respectful and polite.

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Just don’t force them to do anything. I was taught to be obidient and I wasn’t taught to say no or to tell when someone hurt me mostly bc I was already being hurt by family but just teach them how to protect themselves and to always speak what they feel and validate it cause it’s hard out there in the world without the knowledge that abuse and being taken advantage of isn’t normal

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Excellent question! My opinion is if you teach respect you get respect. Also teach ‘throat punch’ just to be sure! Hope that helps! :wink:


Adding just in case the kid is older too, good touch bad touch, good kinda picture bad kinda picture, things they shouldn’t talk about, should all be talks you have with kids as well

Teach them to speak respectfully. Please stop. No thank you. I am not comfortable doing that, thank you. Adults will accept respectful speech.

Let your child know that they can come to you and tell you about anything anyone had done or tried to do that made them feel unsafe and uncomfortable. Let them know that no matter what, you are always there for them. Having that kind of open relationship helps.

Tell your child that whenever they feel uncomfortable about anything they can ask … and give them a handful of trusted people that they can ask for reassurance or otherwise. If those people aren’t available to ask, they can say no

Exactly what you said. If you dont feel comfortable you can say no, go, n tell somebody. Your private parts are whatever is covered by your swimsuit. Nobody is allowed to touch you in those places n you arent allowed to touch anybody in their privates.

I always tell my kids if they feel uncomfortable doing something to say no thank you like my son doesn’t like hugs from people he isn’t super close with so when he was little he would say no thank you if people asked to hug him

I teach my kids that they have a right to their body and a right to their feelings. We have a thing called Happy Bear in our preschools, he/she is a bear that teaches about good touch, bad touch, and mixed up touches. So we use that language and reinforce what Happy Bear teaches and that they can say no loudly and tell someone, etc. If a parent is giving instructions (wash the dishes, it’s bedtime…) we teach them not to backtalk us. Which still allows them the ability to say no to things they don’t like but to know when it’s appropriate to do so…I don’t think I made any sense but basically they can say no to uncomfortable situations/people but not if we’re telling them to do chores or other basic parenting stuff.

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No is not disrespectful. It is an answer to a question. Kids have their own boundaries too.

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Start by letting them know it’s ok to say NO to you as a parent sometimes and express

I’ve started young, my kid at 2 has her no respected by everyone if she’s being tickled and wants it to stop you’ll hear it same with hugs and all kinds of things it just starts at home first if you as the parent can’t take a no they won’t be able to feel like they can say no to others

I taught my kids to respect me and their dad. Teachers are in charge but they can always say no. All other adults are not in charge

My kids have never been told they can’t say NO!!!

Family gets mad but if they tell my kids to give them hugs or kisses and they say no, I respond to echo them. They said no, maybe next time. That way they learn early they never have to do something out of obligation. It’s habit to say or do what they feel when it comes to their body.

I never taught my kids not to say no. I taught them not to disrespect me or talk back to me. I also taught them the right words for their body parts and that it’s never ok for someone to touch them there. Hard lessons were learned. They can tell me no and back talk but I always taught them to there are consequences for every action. If they choose good choices the consequences of those choices will be good ones. And the opposite for the bad ones. Having kids that understand for every action they take is going to have an affect on what happens next is better than teaching them not to say no.


My kids are allowed to tell anyone no, including us. We teach them it’s all in how you say no.

We teach’ NO ’ is a complete sentence and you dont have to give a reason. If it’s something that makes you uncomfortable /you dont like/you dont want to/you dont think you should,NO is the only answer you have to give. That kind of NO is different than if mommy tells you its time to clean up toys or dad says it’s time for bed. But we cant just teach NO. We have to teach the who what WHY how amd PROPER terms of anatomy .
I think teaching this goes hand in hand with teaching it’s ok to not force hugs and kisses/other affections like lap sitting to relatives/strangers/Santa at the mall etc, teach them you dont need to hug someone and say sorry if they arent willing to accept the hug, just say you are sorry. You have to (in MY opinion) take the whole multifaceted approach. For example, Teach them to keep their hands to themselves, none of this “oh boys pull your hair cuz they like you” type of crap.
Girls AND boys need to be taught this equally. The last statistic I saw was 1in4 children will be sexually molested/assaulted/groped, now add to that that its higher likelyhood it’s a trusted friend or family member than a stranger. We need to teach them NO is ok to say- be it to strangers ,friends, uncle Larry, aunt Sally grandpa Joe ,soccer coach etc ,it doesnt matter.

I’ve taught mine this from birth.
Saying “no” isn’t disrespectful.
That’s a really important lesson, especially for little girls.
Refusing to pull your weight and do the right thing is, however.
I simply don’t ask my children to do what’s expected of them, if I have to remind them every so often, it’s ok, but when I have to nag them, it becomes an issue.
But, when it comes to displays of affection, going places with extended family and friends, and really anything short of duty as a productive member of the family unit- the word “no” is always acceptable and respected.
Expect them to challenge you often and push their boundaries, worry if they don’t. Just remain firm- this is a lifelong lesson that will grow more clear to them over time.
Ask their opinions on things.


Not sure about your family and distant family, but I used “them” to achieve what you are saying about.
You know how all aunties and uncles like kisses and hugs (even the ones who don’t even see or talk to your kid). So, I was never even convincing my kids to hug anyone, not only - if the adult would try to persuade them (come and give aunty a hug) I would just say sorry, but he/she doesn’t feel like hugging you etc (so they know I have their back), if adult would still be trying (and believe me it happens more often than I thought) like guilt tripping them, pretending to be sad or even: aunty will give you a cookie (:joy::joy:), I would again say: “I’m sorry he/she doesn’t feel like hugging you. They are learning boundaries and what is a better lesson than deciding whether you want so close contact with someone”. Sometimes depending on a person and how pushy they were I would add “because you know…” to make them think next time, although this kind of remark would normally embarrass people.
It’s not only how you treat your child with regards to their “no” with you. Is what you display when you see your children saying “no” to other people. Even their peers and other children. I find physical contact to be the best example here really in all the ways because it also teaches them that their body is theirs regardless of who they are dealing with.

I also teach them that secrets are bad things (as opposed to surprises), so if anyone tells them to keep a secret from mum or dad or anyone this is their warning sign they are dealing with a bad person and they ought to tell me straight away. The only secrets that are allowed are the ones when person would be planning a birthday party etc (surprises really, not secrets).

An adult should know by the way the child pulls back to take a step away. My grandson wouldn’t let me hug or kiss him most times when I would go over. I’d say that’s all right, maybe later and move on. Sure enough, later when I asked for a hug and kiss I got one. You shouldn’t forced a child to do something they don’t want to.

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I agree with all of these moms. Teaching to be respectful yet empower to have boundaries. I haven’t even mastered this as an adult.

Just to add, I recommend apologizing when you are wrong, lose your temper, yell, etc. It’s ok to acknowledge that adults make mistakes too and it’s ok to disagree.

I’ve told my step kids it’s ok to say no when they don’t feel comfortable. If they are asked to do something, even if it’s saying hi or giving a hug, and they honestly do not feel right doing it I tell them to say no but also say I don’t feel comfortable so we know they’re not just being rude. My daughter is almost 2 and sometimes she will tighten her grip on us when someone comes close. So I’ll ask her too if she’d like to say hi and if she say no or turns away, I’ll tell the person she’s just not ready. It’s just a matter of having a talk with them to explain some instances that may be uncomfortable for them and backing them up. I’ve heard some parents also say they don’t apologize or make up an excuse for their child saying no, as long as their not being rude.

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I teach my kids to respect themselves & others. But not to listen to adults or kids who I haven’t put in charge of them. I’ve straight out told them from very little that adults will tell them to do things so they can hurt them. They will do the opposite of what strangers tell them. I don’t let my kids run wild. I’m with them 24/7 or a trusted adult is in my place.

Adults are not always right. Ther is a way to do thing be respectful and still say no…

If they feel uncomfortable ALWAYS SAY NO. and make sure they tell u.

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Kids have as much right to say no as adults as long as its done in a respectful manner

I taught my little its ok to say no. I agree with the posts. Its still her body (shes 3) and she can decide who to hug and not hug or have in her bubble. She loves hugs though, and doesnt always understand why people dont like hugs. But weve talked about and now she asks others if they want a hug and she expects others to ask her too if she wants one. She always tells me (even tho im standing right there) that such and such asked for a hug and she gave them one. Makes her happy if she can make someone else happy. She is very very guy shy though and i have to explain sometimes that its ok to be that way, and shes getting better but still not fond of guys. Her friends at daycare/school shes okay with but not older guys. She once asked me if she was ok, and i had to tell her just how perfect she is and theres nothing wrong with not liking to be around/near guys. Shes tried, but just not ready. Im all for her telling people no when it comes to her personal space. Shes even told me to leave her alone bc she needed her space. Its all good and im glad she can express herself. Teaching her the words to use has been a great help in reducing tantrums and such too! :slight_smile:


I taught my daughter to respond in two ways: yes if its wat she aants it does not matter who or what age and No if it makes uncomfortable and if its not what she wants. There is no maybe. I hate hearing her failing to stand up for herself. I want her to be firm and bold in saying yes or no. And i support her responses every time

I used personal space as a rule. If my daughter didn’t want to do something b/c it brought something or someone into her personal space in a way that was uncomfortable she had the right to say no. However if it was an adult asking for a task or behavior & she just “didn’t want/feel” like it… NOPE :-1:t2:
suck it up butter cup… welcome to being human.

Talk then to say exactly that, I’m sorry but I’m not comfortable doing that but can I help you with something else or do anything else for you.

Just tell them its ok if you are uncomfortable to say no, to say stop. Teach them that their no’s matter, let them say no to you and show them its ok.

Let them know if it makes them feel that surtan way it’s okay by u for them to say No

“I’d like to talk to my mom about this first.”

Allow them to say no to you. Under certain circumstances I allow my sons to say no.

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You tell them just that…if someone…dont matter if it’s an adult cause kids do sneaky stuff too…asks you to do thay something that makes you uncomfortable or that hurts you…you tell them NO and always tell mommy or another trusted adult

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I always told mine that God have u a voice so use it . Ask questions, tell others what u want or dont want, or like or dislike. Think about the worst thing that will happen and if it’s being told No or told to go home and u can survive that then go for it.

If you are uncomfortable say “no thank you”

Teach your child to trust their intuition. They are the boss of their body & saying no is ok. Check out Safety ever after it’s a great resource for this!