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My parent wants me to do something I don't want to do, how can I tell them no?

127 Answers
Last Updated: 02/14/2022 at 12:27am
1 Tip to Feel Better
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Jennifer Patterson, LMFT, ATR-BC

Art Therapist

Life can be messy. Sometimes you need a little support to make your way through it. I love to help guide people through their challenges & to find the beauty in our messes.

Top Rated Answers
January 2nd, 2016 10:33pm
I understand it can be hard going against your parents because if they take care to you, it's hard to tell them something they don't want to hear. Of course, if it is something that is dangerous for your safety, tell them no right away. If it is not necessarily dangerous for you and you just want to nicely tell them no then think of ways that maybe you would want to hear what you want to tell them and think of a way to say, "I respect you but this is my choice."
January 9th, 2016 10:07pm
One could argue that confronting parents could cause them to take a closer look at themselves – and begin to grow. This is highly unlikely. Every parent I have ever seen has too much pain and denial to protect to be honest. However that it allows you, the now-grown child, to finally see just how strong you really are and just what you’ve been hiding beneath your surface for so long, and that it allows you to finally put your childhood history in the clear backdrop of reality and see where your parents stand..Voicing your concerns being vocal about your own opinion is aseemingly a risk but one that carries great value for your personal growth..
January 17th, 2016 9:47pm
when it comes to your parents often people feel an obligation to listen and to take instructions. i think a key thing to remember is that you are in control of yourself, if they are asking you to do something illeagal or something that makes you feel uncomfortable. if you feel it is safe to do so, sit down with them and explain why you don't feel comfortable. if not, find another adult that you feel able to talk to and tell them. you should never be made to do something that will have a negative impact on you and your emotions, there are many people to help and support you.
February 6th, 2016 8:29am
Think of the reasons why you don't want to do this thing and present it to them in a calm and responsible manner. Try not to snap or be irritable.
September 25th, 2014 2:59pm
Try to talk with them, Make sure you clarify your point of view and suggest to do something else that you like, I understand that you're anxious about it but its Okay to Talk.
December 11th, 2015 8:03pm
Being asked to do something that you don't want to do never has any positive feelings attached to it. It is even harder when it's your parents asking you to do it. There are multiple ways for you to face this issue: 1) You could, after realizing why you don't want to do it (i.e. fear, it will make you anxious, you just don't want to do it, etc)., rationalize a way that makes it possible for you to do whatever it is that they want you to do. 2) You could just say no - BE PREPARED TO EXPLAIN WHY. If you have a valid reason that makes you not want to do it (other than you just don't want to), explain it to them. Make them listen to what you have to say and make them understand.
December 12th, 2015 1:36am
Sit them down in a quiet place where you can speak freely. Calmly and maturely tell them you don't want to do what they are asking you to. Tell them how you feel about the situation (etc, it makes you feel uncomfortable or anxious.).
January 2nd, 2016 7:06pm
If you do not feel in the place to do it, then getting the courage to say no is challenging, especially when you have anxiety. But saying no in a more positive way is the best approach, for example, instead of saying, 'no, I do not want to do that', say something like, 'I am not happy/comforatble that I am being asked to do this task, is there something else I could do instead?' that way you won't come across as disrespectful and you are able to maintain your ground.
January 2nd, 2016 7:53pm
Just tell them how you feel. Be honest with them about the situation and they should acknowledge your feelings. Give them your reasons, and ask them what their concerns are.
January 3rd, 2016 1:21am
unless its chores, the law says you are able to say no to something you don't feel comfortable with.
January 3rd, 2016 9:54pm
That depends what it is they're wanting you to do. If it's a responsibility within the household that won't harm you to do so sometimes it's best to just get it over and done with, it it's something that makes you uncomfortable then if you struggle telling them verbally sometimes writing a letter expressing your feelings can help.
January 6th, 2016 3:04am
This is one of the hardest things you can do, but lay out all of the reasons why you don't want to do it and talk to them about it.
January 6th, 2016 7:47am
Try talking things out in a serious mode and learn how to get their attention. Let them know how important it is to be independent and to have your own opinion without being alienated and chastised.
January 6th, 2016 10:45am
You need to approach them in a calm matter, and just take it slowly. They're probably gonna want an explanation as to why you do not want to partake in the certain activity, be cool and collected and stay confident.
January 6th, 2016 2:25pm
by truly explain to them how you feel you can tart out by "i know you told me to do... but I'm not comfortable" or " Your not going to like this but I didn't do ... because I felt..."
January 6th, 2016 9:09pm
Even parents can be distructive at certain times, the fact that they are your parent doesn't mean you should do something that genuinly makes you uncomfortable (not wanting to clean your room doesn't count lol). Sit your parent down and explain to them why you are refusing to do what they ask you to do. Explain to them how it's impossible for you to do what they ask. If they refuse to listen to you, stay polite but keep saying you can't do it. If you begin to feel unsafe at any point, leave the situation and let them cool down.
January 6th, 2016 11:12pm
Tell your parents how you feel and explain why you feel that way. As parents we only want whats best for you and sometimes we think we know what's best but only you can know what's best for you. They'll understand. Every parent knows that their child has to make their own decisions in life. We simply just try to guide them down a path that will limit the harm.
January 7th, 2016 5:41am
Explain to them why you would rather not do it in a calm, respectful manner. Outlining your reasons.
January 7th, 2016 3:04pm
Well in cases were we want to tell parents our need.. and when they are so strong and rigid of what tjey want us to do, the main is to maintain poise.. if we shout and yell at them, they become more stuborn.. present the need with clear pros and cons... and hope you get it..
January 7th, 2016 4:18pm
You should be very polite to them because when you get rude believe me they will get rude too. It is like action reaction. Do something nice like helping your mother or father and make them appreciate your work. After that they will have more tolerance to you when you say that you don't want to do what they want you to do but the clue is to be polite don't forget!
January 8th, 2016 4:28pm
You should ask them what you really want to do in your life. Ask them politely not to force you for theirs choice. If they're not going to listen you leave your home and live your life according to you.
January 9th, 2016 12:56am
First make a list of legitimate reasons why you don't want to do what ever it is. Then sit down with your parent and calmly go over all the reasons you don't want to do it and hopefully they'll accept your reasoning.
January 9th, 2016 6:57am
Finding a reason it's not a good idea or something else you feel would be a better use of your time & why helps
January 9th, 2016 10:02am
You're person at all.You have rights to do what you want to do.But our parents care about us.They just want to be the best for us.If they wanted you to do,probably it has a reason.But if you really don't want to do it,say it in a kind way.Don't yell at them,don't fight with them.Try to be sensible.I think it'll help you :)
January 14th, 2016 5:58am
About a year ago, I'd just moved house, I was having the most ridiculous argument with my dad where I was too stubborn to brush my teeth before breakfast instead of after. My dad was stressed about work and I was angry about moving house, never the less, I decided the best thing to do was just to brush my teeth now, its the best I could do, especially when he works so hard :) Little things like this aren't worth arguing for !
January 16th, 2016 6:18pm
explain to them why i don't want to do it in the nicest way possible without showing any disrespect towards them
January 22nd, 2016 5:37am
Firstly tell them how you feel about the activity. Try and tell them why you don't want to do it. Secondly try to compromise maybe say instead of doing this I'll do this for you instead.
January 27th, 2016 4:19pm
Tell them that you are smart enough to make your own decisions and politely say that you are not willing to do what they expect you to do
January 28th, 2016 12:57pm
Well, if you don't want to do something then just flat out tell them in the politest way possible in which they won't think is an act of defiance. Stick up for yourself and just try to compromise with them.
January 29th, 2016 12:14pm
Just like that, you kindly tell them you don't want to do it, you have free will and cant be forced into doing anything.