The Art of Saying NO, and Lessons Learned from my Teenage Days


When my sister and I were in college, we became friends with some really cool guys who are in a band and whenever there were street parties in town, this band always performed. As fans — and “friends” — we were always there too. It so happened that these guys were invited to perform in our hometown in the province and this just drove us nuts! We wanted to be there, of course, regardless of how many times we’ve seen them perform in the city or hung out with them in campus. As teenagers, we wanted to be ‘seen’ and to be part of that crowd everybody thought of as ‘cool’ and ‘fun’.


And so after dinner we got dressed and excitedly headed for the door when suddenly one of the adults spoke: WHERE DO YOU THINK YOU’RE GOING? Don’t you know what kind of band this is and what kind of values they’re promoting…

Blah… blah… blah… blah… Today, in this popular TV series The Voice, when one out of four judges turns around and says “yes” to you, you’re in. But back then, we had to win the YES of every adult in the house before we get what we wanted. So you can imagine the looks on our faces when this adult spoke up. To cut the long story short, we never made it out of the house that night.


How do you think that made us feel as teenagers? Resentful, of course! But several years later today, when we ourselves have become parents, I feel nothing else but gratitude for the adults’ bravery to say “NO” to their adolescents’ pleading.

“Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you strike him with a rod, he will not die.” – Proverbs 23:13

Parents of adolescents who understand how sensitive this stage of development is and just how important it is for teenagers to have friends are careful not to arouse that rebellious spirit among their children. Very few parents get the courage to say NO when it’s easier to say YES.

“The rod and reproof give wisdom, but a child left to himself brings shame to his mother.” – Proverbs 29:15

As a parent with very young children, I thank God for the way the adults in our lives raised us and I pray that He never ceases to guide me in raising mine. The media is flooded with all sorts of propaganda and even people who call themselves parenting experts. I have nothing against this; in fact, I myself consult professional help when it comes to making major decisions concerning my family. But it is always best to remember that there is one unfailing Guide whose love and concern for children is beyond what any human parent can comprehend.

“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness…” – 2 Timothy 3:16

Whenever I feel unsure, inadequate or fearful about my parenting, I offer all these to the Master Counselor and all fears, doubts and hesitations fade away.

One Comment

  1. Linux VPS said:

    Excellent and timely article! We should never feel guilty about saying “no”, especially as women. Set boundaries and adhere to them. Honor yourself first; it’s not being selfish, it’s being smart. No one should take the route of being a martyr, which only leads to regrets down the line.

    May 11, 2016

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