When the Child Says No, Trying To Force Obedience May Be Tempting

But it’s also wrong.

Adelina Vasile


Photo from Pixabay

Nothing makes me want to throw an adult tantrum like my son saying no when I scoop him up, ready to hear a yes.

I know, and you know, that grownups have their agenda that must usually include a child in it too.

But what we often forget is that children have a completely different agenda than we do. So, when different agendas collide, how can you avoid a clash?

It’s instinctive to get into a fighting position. Still, being grumpy and oozing negative emotions won’t bring you anything good, be it in the long run or the short run.

When you force choices on the little ones, all you’re getting is a momentary submission. The child is constrained to pick one choice (to come with you) over another choice (to face the “consequences”) from two undesirable options.

You can’t walk over your child, and you won’t be educating them if you do it.

Also, you can’t walk over your child and expect them to grow up into independent, self-confident adults who don’t allow others to walk over them.

How do you obtain cooperation without forcing it?

First of all, you’d have to show respect. You can’t demand to be listened to or understood when you’re showing no intention of listening to or understanding your child.

Here are 10 things respectful parents don’t do to their children. It’s a great start for having better relationships with our children at any moment.

Second, you want to put your fears aside. The fear of failure, the fear of being too soft, the fear of not being harsh enough. We, parents, screw up so many things because of our insecurities, fears, and false projections.

When you’re strong enough to be a gentle parent, life gets a little easier.

If you’re still having doubts about not being able to get your child’s cooperation without making them fear you, perhaps this piece on the long-term effects of fear-based discipline will help you a bit: disciplined to feel “not good enough”. It doesn’t just show you the effects but also suggests a better alternative.



Adelina Vasile

Mother, educator, journalist, copywriter. I write about the things I need to learn myself.