Accepting “No”


Submitted by: Lara Lanza, M.Ed., BCBA

You’re a mom of two children, trying to fit all of your daily necessities into a 24-hour day; seems impossible with two kiddos! Of course all of their “behaviors” emerge when you are trying to get “me” stuff done. On top of trying to get your “me” necessities completed, it is time for Christmas shopping! The kiddos scream of joy when they find out they are going to go Christmas shopping with you! The fear of having your kiddos want every toy in the store, especially the expensive toys, can be mind consuming. From mom’s perspective it may seem like a tedious task – but I have a solution!

Throughout my time working as a BCBA, I have come across some protocols that will be very helpful to the average mom who has trouble denying access to certain tangibles; especially when the price of such tangibles is out of mom’s price range. To moms out there, here is my advice:

We women love to carry nice big purses; one suggestion I might add is to fill those purses with some yummy delicious edibles for your kiddos. Carry backup supplies such as an iPad, tablet, cars, or little toys that your kiddos gravitate towards. These items will come in handy when trying to get Christmas gifts for the family.

Your child, whom is walking very nicely next to you, grabs an $80.00 toy from the shelf. Your little kiddo says. “Mommy! This toy is amazing! I have to have it!” The $80.00 price is out of your price range but you see the same toy but smaller for $40.00. You, being the best mom in the world, would love to buy everything in the store for your amazing kiddos but the $80.00 price range is not realistic. Mom, this is what you should do:

Inform your kiddo that the toy is not able to be purchased- decline access to the toy but offer the smaller similar toy paired with one of the really cool reinforcing items from your purse. “Bobby, no you cannot have that big toy today but you can have this smaller toy and your “skittles, iPad, or crackers etc.”

If Bobby does not comply- “Ugh Mommy! Why? I want that toy Mommy and begins to scream and cry-remove the skittles, iPad, or crackers by putting them back into your purse, block access to both the big toy and the little toy, ignore his problem behaviors, and continue shopping. Bobby no longer has the opportunity to have Mommy purchase that toy for him.

If Bobby complies and says, “Okay Mommy” then your master ABA mom skills have worked! Reinforce his amazing behavior by letting him grab the toy and put it in the cart and let him choose between the awesome reinforcers in your purse!

Way to go Mom!