NO! – A five year-old’s guide to being stubborn

We have three daughters; seven, five and 6 months. Our five year-old has been practicing saying no and she is very, very good at it. This may be a function of her change in status from being the youngest in the family to becoming a big sister and a middle child. It may just be that she likes to be contrary and stubborn and in charge.  I think she offers an excellent example to other kids looking to be the boss of me.

Here is her guide on how to stymy your parents at every turn

Getting up in the morning for school

Seriously – why do adults do this?  Why would you want to get up and get out of bed at 7?  It can be difficult, but here are the steps to staying in bed.

Step 1: Ignore your alarm clock

Step 2: Ignore the parent trying to get you out of bed

Step 3: Say no to all requests

Step 3: Go limp

Step 4: Claim illness

Getting up in the morning on the weekend

Seriously – why don’t adults want to get up?  Why would you want to stay in bed past 7? It can be difficult to get parents out of bed on the weekend, here are the steps:

Step 1: Wake your self up as early as possible

Step 2: Stomp loudly down the hall to the bathroom, slam the lid up to make a nice satisfying bang. This helps your parents get out of their deep sleep.

Step 3: Charge into their bedroom and start talking to your parents – they are only pretending to sleep. Climb into bed with them to snuggle and then wiggle around, periodically kicking whichever parent you are closest to.  This will help to remind them it is time to get up. If they say no to snuggling, flop on their bed and flail your legs around (screaming optional).

Eating breakfast

Sometimes breakfast is yummy and essential.  Sometimes it is boring and a waste of time.  It always presents an opportunity to be in charge.

Step 1: On weekdays before school – avoid saying what you want for breakfast as long as possible

Step 2: Pick something you want your parents to make

Step 3: Refuse to eat it because you no longer like it

Step4: On weekends – get up and make your own breakfast and leave as much debris for your parents to clean up as you can.

Getting ready to go

A fantastic opportunity for frustrating your parents

Step 1: Act surprised that you are supposed to be going somewhere – even if it is school

Step 2: Refuse to go (screaming preferable)

Step 3: Pretend you can’t find your mitts, boots, socks, snowpants, rainpants, coat, backpack, door, doorknob, etc.

Step 4: Take your time putting on your gear – what’s the rush really?

Eating lunch at home

Same rules as breakfast.  Changing your mind regularly through the process is the most effective tool.

Eating lunch at school

While your parents aren’t around there are still opportunities to make your point.

Step 1: Tell your parents what you want in your lunch

Step 2: Tell them you didn’t like it when you bring it home uneaten or partially donated.

Step 3: If you did eat it all, change your mind the next time they make you the same lunch and tell your parents you no longer like that food.

Step 4: Ask why your parents why they never give you food that you previously indicated that you didn’t like.


This one is easy and only requires one step

Step 1: Just say NO!

Eating dinner

Step 1: Same rule as breakfast and lunch

Step 2: figure out what your parents consider to be good manners and reject them completely – unless you are at someone else’s house and they aren’t there.

Step 3: Take your time eating – unless they threaten to take away desert, in which case do whatever you can to get some of that goodness.

Getting into bed

Seriously – why do adults do this?  Why would you want to go to bed?  It can be difficult, but here are the steps to staying out of bed.

Step 1: Act surprised that there is such a thing as bed time

Step 2: Refuse to stop doing whatever you are doing

Step 3: Refuse to go upstairs to get ready for bed

Step 4: Refuse to put on pyjamas

Step 5: Refuse to brush your teeth and clamp your teeth closed if a parent tries to brush them for you. (Don’t scream as part of this activity because some parents are crafty and will stick a toothbrush in there while your mouth is open)

Step 6: Pick a book to read in French and ask your parents to read it to you in English (Little Miss books are great options because they have ridiculous vocabulary in them)

Step 7: Complain when they stop reading

Step 8: Refuse to get into bed

Step 9: Scream

Step 10: Get out of bed after they turn off the lights and complain that you can’t sleep

Keeping them on their toes

Sometimes your parents will get ahead of you and figure out ways to get past your guard so you need to keep changing things up for them.  You need to periodically throw tantrums for no identifiable reason and regularly say NO to things they really want you to do.    The unpredictability is what keeps it fun.


About DadGoesRound
I am a Canadian father of three girls and blog about Fatherhood, Kids and Current Affairs at

2 Responses to NO! – A five year-old’s guide to being stubborn

  1. Susan Ratcliffe says:

    This one should be mandatory reading for every couple contemplating having children. You know – the ones who think it would be lovely to have cute girl children. You could put a quick stop to the overpopulation problem in the world.
    Mum (who gets to see them at their best, then send them home to you for the bad times)

  2. Lisa J-W says:

    This is the best post you have ever written. That is all. — LJW

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