“Never Say No” Lyrics for Parents

During my seminars I show a cartoon illustrating two young children raking leaves. The mother is saying to her neighbor that she told her children they could not rake the leaves. The humorous cartoon points out that if you tell kids not to do something, they want to do it.

I recently saw a stage production of the musical The Fantastics. One of the songs had the following lyrics, which makes the same point:


Dogs got to bark, a mule’s got to bray.
Soldiers must fight and preachers must pray
And children, I guess, must get their own way
The minute that you say no.

Why did the kids pour jam on the cat?
Raspberry jam all over the cat?
Why should the kids do something like that,
When all that we said was no?

My son was once afraid to swim.
The water made him wince.
Until I said he mustn’t swim:
So he has been swimming ever since!

Why did the kids put beans in their ears?
No one can hear with beans in their ears.
After a while the reason appears.
They did it cause we said no.

Your daughter brings a young man in,
Says “Do you like him, Pa?”
Just say that he’s a fool and then:
You’ve got a son-in-law!

Sure as the June comes right after May!
Sure as the night comes right after day!
You can be sure the devil’s to pay
The minute that you say no.

Make sure you never say…



A gentleman asked me how he can prevent saying “No” to his young child.

My suggestion: Use the magic phrase “Not yet.”