Valorie Burton: It's only two little letters, but it can be one of the hardest words for parents to say. I'm talking about the word no, and saying it consistently with your kids can be quite a challenge. Our children can sense when parents really don't mean what they say, and if you are not consistent, then you are not going to be heard. Because children do have an incredible sixth sense; that's why when you say no, you really need to mean no. If your kids are used to pushing their boundaries, you may need to use the look or a certain tone that lets them know you are really serious.
Injecting a little humor to the situation can hurt either. If your kid ask you something that's really ridiculous that they know you won't go for, make a joke out of it, they'll get the message.
Ultimately, the key to saying no is overcoming your temptation to let things slide. Sometimes fatigue or other distractions can keep us from sticking to rules or following up when they are not followed.
Kids may learn that your no equals, I'll get away with this at least two more times. Or may be they'll try to get away with poor behavior in public, figuring they are safe from enforcement.
Again, it comes down to being consistent, sticking with your word. Ultimately, saying no and meaning it, really boils down to trust. If your kids can't trust what you say, who can they believe? And if they learn that lesson at a young age, it will stick with them even when they are teenagers and adults.