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Using “No, thank you!” Power

April is Child Abuse Prevention Month. As part of our global efforts to help protect kids from abuse, bullying, and other harmful behavior, each day this month, we will share a time-tested skill from our Kidpower® 30-Skill-Challenge Coaching Handbook.

Skill #9: The Power of Saying, “No, thanks!” Children and adults alike are often uncomfortable in setting boundaries because they don’t want to hurt the feelings of someone important to them. Being prepared to say, “No, thanks!” cheerfully, clearly, and respectfully is useful in lots of situations – from turning down unwanted food from a grandma to stopping a wrestling game that is getting too rough.

This full practice is a part of the Kidpower® 30-Skill-Challenge Coaching Handbook.

Children are safer when they understand that we each belong to ourselves and when they know how to politely and firmly refuse behavior from others that does not feel safe to them.

Tell a child, “You belong to you, and I belong to me. Your body belongs to you, and so do your feelings and your thoughts. We each belong to ourselves.”

Explain, “Knowing how to say ‘No, thanks!’ in a clear, calm and respectful way helps you to take care of your body and feelings and can help you to build safe, strong relationships. Let’s practice.”

Tell the child to imagine that you want to wrestle in a way that feels too rough. Coach the child to look at you with a calm face, make their hands into a fence, and and say, clearly, “No, thanks.”

Respond cheerfully, “Okay!”

Then, reverse. Imagine that the child wants to wrestle when you don’t.

Make your own fence and say, calmly and confidently, “No, thanks.”

Coach the child to respond cheerfully, “Okay.”

For a FREE explanation on the simple methods you can use to teach children to use each of these skills, download the Kidpower® 30-Skill-Challenge Coaching Handbook on our website –this ebook will be FREE of charge in English, Spanish, and Arabic in honor of April as Child Abuse Prevention Month.

Please share this skill with others. Let’s work together to teach young people to take charge of their safety, increase self-confidence, and develop healthy, positive relationships! 

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Published: April 9, 2019   |   Last Updated: April 9, 2019

Kidpower Founder and Executive Irene van der Zande is a master at teaching safety through stories and practices and at inspiring others to do the same. Her child protection and personal safety expertise has been featured by USA Today, CNN, Today Moms, the LA Times, and The Wall Street Journal. Publications include: cartoon-illustrated Kidpower Safety Comics and Kidpower Teaching Books curriculum; Bullying: What Adults Need to Know and Do to Keep Kids Safe; the Relationship Safety Skills Handbook for Teens and Adults; Earliest Teachable Moment: Personal Safety for Babies, Toddlers, and Preschoolers; The Kidpower Book for Caring Adults: Personal Safety, Self-Protection, Confidence, and Advocacy for Young People, and the Amazon Best Seller Doing Right by Our Kids: Protecting Child Safety at All Levels.