If you haven’t reduced down to three choices, you haven’t understood the question/task well enough to identify the first three choices.
Many of them come down to:
Unable (willing or not, this is more obvious though if willingness is there)
Doing – choosing
So the first step with any problem is to understand it well enough to figure out which of those three applies. And often once you do you can either:
Set a boundary (be assertive): I will not.
Set a boundary and ask for help: I am unable without support, and I am willing to explore options.
Confirm and agree: If I’m understanding, this is what you want me to do, and if that is correct, I am willing and believe I am able to do so.
Talking with someone about setting boundaries with their mom.
I’m writing this stuff out because I need to practice boundaries as well, so thinking things like this out helps me practice.
“Mom, do not ask for a sleepover again. <Child> has already said no. If they changes their mind we’ll let you know. If you can’t respect our boundaries, we’ll have to leave and visit another day.”
Then if mom brings it up again – “Ok mom, we’re leaving now, see you later.”
If she asks why:
“It’s time for us to go.”
“We can discuss it later.”
“You sound <emotion/feeling>, we need to go now, let’s get in touch over the phone when we get home.”
Explaining invites argument. It’s not your fault if your parent can’t recall the boundary you set. It is your fault if you don’t hold your boundary. When they are upset is not the time to remind them. When you’re both calm getting them in writing might be helpful.
More self-care scripts (originally devised in collaboration with and for my own progeny):