No is Not Short for Let’s Negotiate

Moms, I need to talk about the word “no.”

We speak a lot about raising our children to understand and obey our “no.” We use “no” to protect our children and set healthy boundaries. We’re also fully aware of the “no means no” campaign, and as parents, we do our best to teach our children to have a strong “no” to peer pressure. I’m trying so hard to get this right with my child, but I must wonder if I’m doing a decent job as a mom at modeling good boundary behavior.

I started to do some soul searching while thinking about the sales aspect of my business. I’ve been to tons of sales conferences and trainings, and one of the main things I’ve been taught is “no should be the start of a negotiation.” We’re taught to (and I quote) “go for no.” This is a common phrase used among mentors. I’ve been told that a person will say “no” seven times before saying “yes.” This is used as a coaching mechanism to present the same person with a slightly different version of the same question seven times before breaking them down to a (more than likely reluctant) yes.

As a mom, this has always been tough information for me to swallow, and more than likely why I suck at sales. Can you imagine our children taking that sales advice with us? Here’s how I imagine it would play out:

Mom can I have a unicorn? No.

Mom, I think you would really like a unicorn? No thank you.

Mom, did you know that unicorns are 50% more cost effective than horses? No thanks, we can’t afford a unicorn.

Oh, mom, I understand that you can’t afford it now, but I promise your unicorn will be an investment that will eventually pay for itself. No.

*mom dies. Cause of death – repetitive use of the word no

Ok I’ll go ask dad.

One phrase I’ve started using with my daughter is “my no does not mean let’s negotiate.” I’ll welcome any question or information, but once I say no, I’d like it to be the end of the discussion. I’m working hard to remember that boundary for myself. As moms, how often have you found yourself in one of these situations with your peers?

Your new friend whose child really wants a sleepover with your child, but you’re just not comfortable with sleepovers yet.

Your best friend from high school who insists on having you trying a new eye cream.

Your neighbor who continues to ask for babysitting favors even though you’ve explained that evenings are reserved for family time.

While all these scenarios are not necessarily terrible, they can become an annoyance if you or the other party don’t have good boundaries. One personal rule I’ve set for myself is “once you tell me no, the ball is in your court to make the next move.”

While this tactic may make me a terrible sales person, I feel as though it will build trust, protect my relationships, set healthy boundaries, and build better relationships among my mom friends. I mean who really wants a reluctant, forced yes?

Jada grew up on the bayou in Larose. She moved to Baton Rouge for college, and quickly decided to call it home. In 2011, she married Zack, and in 2013 they had their daughter, Aubrey. They're also expecting another girl, Charlie, in August. Jada owns Movement Fitness in Watson, and loves helping women reach their wellness goals. When she's not working or parenting - oh lets be honest, those times are few and far between - she loves attending LSU and Saints games, cooking, playing golf badly, and being outdoors.


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