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Saying No

A Parent's Guide to Teaching your Child Refusal Skills A NOTE TO PARENTS: Dear Parents: With our children rests our hope for tommorrow. Unfortunately, our children are growing up in a society far different than when we walked in their shoes. As adults, we assume a lot of responsibilities, but none greater than guiding and shaping our children. Today's youth travels a road filled with choices about drugs, gangs and violence. Our children need a sense of direction- they need your direction, for without it, they likely will become lost. Saying No to offers involving drug abuse, gangs or violence sounds so simple-but to our children their ability to refuse such offers often brings a sense of fear and confusion. Our children's refusal skills need to become instinctive - for only then will they become confident in their ability to Just Say No to Drugs. SAYING NO THANKS While this refusal technique is certainly the most fundamental, some children simply forget to try it. Simply SAYING NO THANKS often works when children are faced with friendly or teasing pressure. However it is important that our children understand that sometimes SAYING NO THANKS doesn't work. They need to develop the knowledge and confidence that there are other refusal skills. They need to keep trying until they find one that does work. GIVING A REASON OR EXCUSE Sometimes children have a stigma about SAYING NO to their friends. Teach your child that in order to avoid peer pressures about drug abuse, gangs or violence that sometimes they can GIVE A REASON OR EXCUSE. Help your child to always have a reason or excuse stored in their memory, that way when it is time to use it they do so without hesitation and sound confident. It is important that the reason or excuse they use must serve its main purpose - to get them away from the person making the offer. Stress to your child they should not get into an argument with the person making an offer - it is an argument they are not likely to win! BROKEN RECORD BROKEN RECORD, or SAYING NO as many times as necessary is an effective refusal technique when your child needs to position him/herself so that they may use one of the other refusal technique. This skill may serve as a stall echnique. WALK AWAY By far, WALKING AWAY, is one of the most effective refusal skills. Children need to fully understand that they have a Right to Say No to offers which involve making bad choices. Time and time again, children feel obligated to stand and face "the enemy". Tell your children they need to put one foot in front of the other! CHANGE THE SUBJECT There are situations when your children are not able to WALK AWAY or otherwise avoid pressure. Teach them they can CHANGE THE SUBJECT, or very simply talk and talk and talk about anything but the offer put before them. Eventually, if they keep talking long enough the opportunity to WALK AWAY or utilize another refusal skill will present itself. AVOID THE SITUATION Talk to your child about his or her activities. Do you know where they are going and who they are going with? Common sense tells us there are places and times when the risks of pressures and violence are increased. Both you and your child must work together to simply AVOID THOSE SITUATIONS! COLD SHOULDER This refusal skill, much like BROKEN RECORD, provides your child with the opportunity to avoid directly confronting a person making an offer involving a bad choice. Teach your child they do not have to talk-they can look the other way, turn their shoulder or start a conversation with someone else. Again, they need to know how to buy some time until they can use another refusal skill. STRENGTH IN NUMBERS STRENGTH IN NUMBERS is the most important refusal skill we can give to our children. The truth is simple- if our children surround themselves with friends that make good choices, they too will likely make good choices- if they surround themselves with friends who make bad choices, they too will likely make bad choices. One of the most important choices your child can make is their choice of friends. Help them, guide them, for choosing friends alone is an awesome task. It is a task with serious consequences. SOMETIMES IT IS NOT WHAT YOU SAY...BUT HOW YOU SAY IT. PARENTS - TEACH YOUR CHILD TO BE ASSERTIVE Copyright © 1996 Bruce A. Beard

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