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Child Nagging & Negotiating

End child nagging & negotiating with just three simple words

child nagging

When it comes to persistence, few things compare to a child nagging and negotiating to try and get what he wants. And few people know that better than a parent who has given that child an answer they don’t want to hear.

From the famed “Are we there yet?” to this morning’s “Can I have ice cream for breakfast?” to this afternoon’s “Can I have ice cream for dinner?” kids are notorious for their one-track minds, and they will ask…and ask…and ask…just in case you’ve changed your mind in the last minute.

Child nagging is a learned behavior that children of any age can pick up. They might continue to use it because once, in a moment of weakness, you caved and let them stay up an extra half hour after they asked for the eighth time.

But like any learned behavior, child nagging can be unlearned. The solution comes from Lynn Lott, co-author of the Positive Discipline series of books, and it works on kids as young as two or three, all the way through their teens.

It only takes three simple words: “Asked and Answered.”

The concept is simple. When seven-year-old Daniel begs to dig a giant hole in the front yard and gets “no” for an answer, chances are he’ll be back in five minutes asking again – this time with a “pleeeeeeaase” just so you know he really, really wants to dig the hole.

Instead of repeating yourself or jumping in to a lecture, avoid child nagging by getting eye to eye and follow the process below:

Step One: Ask, “Have you ever heard of ‘Asked and Answered’?” (He’ll probably say no.)

Step Two: Ask, “Did you ask me a question about digging a hole?” (He’ll say yes.)

Step Three: Ask, “Did I answer it?” (He’ll probably say, “Yes, but, I really ….”)

Step Four: Ask, “Do I look like the kind of mom/dad/teacher who will change her/his mind if you ask me the same thing over and over?” (Chances are Daniel will walk away, maybe with a frustrated grunt, and engage in something else.)

Step Five: If Daniel asks again, simply say, “Asked and Answered.” (No other words are necessary!) Once this technique has been established, these are the only words you should need to say to address nagging questions.

Consistency is key! Once you decide to use “Asked and Answered” with your nagging child, be sure to stick to it. If 14-year-old Emma is particularly determined to keep asking to get her eyebrow pierced, stay strong. Answering her question again – or worse yet, changing your answer – will reinforce to her that her nagging works. Although it’ll take some patience, your child will eventually connect the dots and you’ll see results!

Make “Asked and Answered” a joint effort with your spouse, and consider including any family or friends who may have to deal with child nagging and negotiating from your child. When Daniel and Emma realize that they won’t get a “yes,” even after they’ve asked twelve times, they’ll get the hint and retire this tactic.

Speech and Language Pathologist, Stacy Pulley reports this technique works well for children with communication challenges, particularly those with Autism. She suggests bringing a notebook or a chalk/dry erase board into the mix and writing down a question once they’ve asked it more than once, keeping in mind their reading level. Or, draw a picture. Then, when your child asks again, point to the board or notebook to remind them that they’ve asked, and you’ve answered. Be sure to use as few words as possible and stay consistent in your language to help them understand the connection as they learn to listen to and respect your answers.

Adding this tool to your parenting toolbox is a positive step toward ending the child nagging and negotiating that can wear on even the most resolute of parents. Then, be sure to follow through and stay consistent – and before you know it, 20 questions will be a fun game once again, and no longer a negotiation tactic!

If you liked “Asked & Answered,” you’ll LOVE the free video series in our Quick Start Guide. Take a Parent Personality Assessment and learn tools to get kids to LISTEN without losing your cool! Get instant access to videos here:
http://www.positiveparentingsolutions.com/parent-training.

Comments

comments

347 Comments
  1. If the question that is asked requires some thinking on your part, I like the response… I will think about that unless you need an answer now. If you need an answer now, it is no. (For older children)

    • Cyndi – you’re right. There are many ways to respond to kids. This is one alternative so we don’t sound like a broken record with a “NO” response! Thanks for sharing! :)

    • omg!!! give me a break!!!! do you need an anwer now? lol!!! you teach them no means no!!! why do you think some guys rape women. they were never taught no means no! from parents like you. beat their ass if they ask again!

    • Julie – I can obviously tell from your impeccable use of grammar and punctuation, as well as your views on physical punishment, that you were raised well enough to tell others how to raise their children. This is simply a tactic for after you’ve said no – further engraining that no means no. Secondly, harming your children when they don’t act the way you want them to can not only be immoral, but does nothing but instilling fear in your children, potentially causing them a lack of confidence in situations such as your proposed rape situation to say no. Everyone is entitled to their own opinions, but I’d suggest you educate yourself before tearig down someone else’s.

    • Oh my gosh, julie, grow up. How dare you think beating a innocent child will help them on later in life. Are you an actual parent or are you just an annoying 14 year old girl who thinks its cool to joke about that kind of stuff?

    • With my autistic son, we have to tell him “We’re all done talking about that.” but I like this idea for my other kids.

  2. I like this. The trouble I have is that I want to raise a persistant child who doesn’t give up easily when they don’t get what they want! Think about it – we encourage kids not to give up on all sorts of things they want, and yet we tell them not to pester us. Of course we don’t want them to pester other people either. How do I reconcile this apparent contradiction?

    • I find that asked and answered works only if you have a reason. I kill two birds with one stone “I feel sick today, no kids can come to play. but you can play somewhere else”
      “oh but dani, please?”
      “I don’t think you were listening. I answered you already”

      but the argument technique works well for other things.
      “can we watch tv”
      “if you can convince me”

      … it takes a while for them to learn how to do it though :) but this is a good thing.

    • Elona – this is such an important point you raise. I think it’s in how they ask. You can coach your kids on how to RESPECTFULLY question a decision or response. That’s different than “badgering.” This tool is intended to nip the “please, can I can I now? are you sure mom?” type of negotiating! In fact – I think the topic of teaching kids to respectfully question adults would make a good blog article sometime soon! What do you think? :)

    • Dani – so true. With these tools, it takes some practice until they “get it” and we get comfortable using them consistently. Thanks for sharing! :)

    • Amy – I love that distinction. Yes, I think this would make a great topic for further discussion. With my 4 1/2 year old we are still trying to get a grip on what “respectful” means, so it might be a bit early to make that distinction, but I can see it being very useful in the near future. The other difficulty I have with the firm no, and being clear to her that I expect her to respect my no, is that she now models that language in telling me no, particularly when it’s time to pick up toys! Another difficult thing to reconcile. I do know that kids need clear boundaries and consistency, even if there appear to be some contradictions.

    • I would first like to comment on Julie’s nonsense. How dare you make such a ridiculous comment like that on a page like this. Positive Parenting Solutions are for people that would like help or advice. If you don’t want either go be miserable and annoying on another site…..the nerve of some people.
      I’m sorry, on a better note I am a mother, a caring mother of a 3yr old boy and I will be trying this with him for sure.
      Thank you for sharing.

    • I love the follow up blog- please! I recently read on another blog about reminding our children that some answers are not up for discussion. I used it recently when my 6 y/o (who has been known to tell us others do things that they don’t really do) told us her Grandma lets them take their seatbelts off when they pull into the cul-de-sac. I told her there are some rules that we have that do not change no matter what and the seatbelt rule (not allowed to take it off until the parking brake is on) is one of them. It’s slow going, but working. It’s letting her know that SOME things may be up for discussion, giving her the opportunity to reason us into a different answer.

    • Wow, I like this debate. To help “Elona” – with my 4 year old boy, who is very sensitive, I practice a “RESPECTFUL question” system in a bit different way.
      “Mommy, can I want a cookie”
      “No, you can’t have a cookie now”
      “But, please, please Mommy! ” (starting to tear up)
      I look at him and calmly say “go to another room and when you’re ready ask me the right way”
      After that he leaves and since he removes himself from the situatin he has time to think. If he comes back and asks me the same way I give him examples of how too ask and once he gets it right I give him a reason why he cannot have it now and sometimes a timeframe when he can get it, linke after he finishes dinner. This has worked for me. Good luck!

  3. This isn’t a new thing, I was told “I answered you already, don’t ask again” and Now I say it to the kids. It’s the same thing, more words, same idea. She/You didn’t “discover” anything.

    • You’re right, Emily! This isn’t the cure to cancer – just one more tool for parents to have in their tool box to help diffuse power struggles. :)

  4. I don’t think anyone’s trying to claim that this is new. Maybe it’s a technique people either haven’t tried or that they forgot about and it’s a good reminder.

    • Mama in Flagstaff – thanks for weighing in! :) The reminders help me to be consistent with using the tools and I hope they help others as well!

  5. At what age are children developmentally able to understand this concept?

    • Clara – depending on how verbal and the child’s development – around the age of 2.5 or 3 – as long as the language is very simple! Hope that helps! :)

    • I used “Asked and Answered” with my daughter from the time she could ask incessantly. It worked beautiful. She’s almost 12 and I don’t have to use it often anymore, but when I do…it still works beautiful.

  6. Why wouldn’t you just explain your no to the child? ex: No you can’t dig a hole there because someone could later step in it and hurt themselves, or no you can’t dig a hole there because it will ruin the yard and our family is really trying to grow a healthy lawn this year… Kids aren’t stupid and this approach seems like LAZY parenting to me. Stop for a few minutes, take a breath and actually TALK to your kids!!! Get a dang sand box for them or just let them dig…

    • I think what they’re trying to say is that even though you might explain why you don’t want your kids to dig a hole, some kids are going to ask again and again. Instead of explaining yourself over and over again, this is a nice way to remind them that you aren’t going to change your mind. I do this with my son. He’ll ask after I’ve explained why and I’ll ask him, “Did I tell you why you couldn’t do such and such?” He’ll say yes and tell me why I said no and then try to get me to change my mind. I’ll say, “I’ve given you my reason, it hasn’t changed and you know the answer.” Same kind of thing.

    • Tia – this tool is used AFTER you’ve done what you just described.

      Example from the article: “When seven-year-old Daniel begs to dig a giant hole in the front yard and gets “no” for an answer, chances are he’ll be back in five minutes ASKING AGAIN – this time with a “pleeeeeeaase” just so you know he really, really wants to dig the hole.”

      The “Asked & Answered” tools reminds the child he already asked and you already answered and it intended to minimize badgering.

    • Michelle – thanks for weighing on how you use the tool!

    • Is it just mine? That conversation is continued with, “but I’ll put a fence around it! I’ll do it over there where no one walks. I won’t make a mess. I’ll clean the mess……”

    • Ha, Tia. You must not have kids yet, lol.

  7. I used this today and it worked so wonderfully! My kids asked for candy at the store and I explained to them they we already had enough candy at home and we wouldn’t be buying any more. They continued asking so I said “did you already ask me?” (Yes) “and what did I say?” (No). “Do I look like the type of mother who just changes her mind because you are whining?” (No)

    It worked! We got out of the store with no whining or tears!

    I didn’t feel like it was lazy and while this technique may have been around before, it’s my first time hearing it. Thank you!!!

    • Yay Erin! Thanks for sharing your success!

    • Thanks for sharing your experience, I can’t wait to try this…

  8. Ohhh this is so fabulous! I have 6 & 7 yr old girls that constantly askt he same thing over and over again. Exhausting! Thanks for posting this! Love it!

    • Thanks for the encouragement, Nancy! Let us know how it works for you! xo

  9. Thanks for this post, Amy. Its important for us to remember as parents..its not about ignoring a request, but about teaching and modeling respectful communication and OUR boundaries, too – that we will decide, follow through and not change our answers based on perseveration. A very helpful tool, indeed, to demonstrate this to children of all ages, of all communication levels…it teaches children to use novel language to express themselves, negotiate and compromise, not get stuck on the same idea and say the same things again and again. A simple but brilliant tool with a lot of depth! Thanks!

    • Thanks for your wise perspective, Stacy!

  10. I see another level of depth to this technique too, particularly as the mother of two young girls. So many times I see people, women especially, view providing a “no” response as either giving an incomplete answer or as the opening to a discussion.

    But “No.” is a sentence.

    So by providing my children with role modelling in the provision of “no” as a complete answer, I empower them to do the same. To later politely but decisively turn down inclusion in activities that will suck their time, or damage their health. And to refuse, with no chance of rebuttal, that conniving boy who wants to talk them around to an activity they don’t really want to try just yet. I’m showing them how to respect their own ability to answer decisively by teaching them to respect mine.

    I must add, however, I do explain my reasoning most times, and I also say “yes” a lot too! I don’t want them to stop asking altogether.

    • This is so true. Thanks for pointing this out. It’s easy to forget that we are modeling behavior even as we are disciplining, etc. The main reason I keep explanations to a minimum is that people see explanation as an opening for discussion/negotiation, and my four year old is no exception!

    • I really like your response! I ALWAYS feel like I have to give someone a reason when I say no to something. It could be anyone, not just my child and frankly sometime “no” with no explanation needs to be enough because they then proceed to try and change my mind or even judge my reasoning if given more than a “no” response. I hope to find the right balance with my daughter, sometimes explaining and sometimes letting “no” be enough.

    • Love this dialogue. Thanks for sharing, everyone!

  11. and what do you do when your child says, “Yes, you look like mom who will change her mind if I ask over and over again.”? Whether or not you do change your mind. Sometimes they are just being snarky, sometimes it’s true.

    • Simply say, “You must be confused. I’m not the type of mom who will change her mind!” And let that be the end of it. :)

  12. Slawebb, that’s the best opportunity to tell them that you are not the kind of person who will be swayed by whining and repetitive asking and then backing up that statement with decisiveness.

  13. My daughter is 5, and my phrase is “one time” meaning that i will only answer her question once no matter how many times she asks me. That is also the rule for how many times I have to ask her to do something. She is still learning the process but its pretty good.

  14. Another vote for the effectiveness of this! I often give what my children call the “mom look” and ask, “Has whining and asking again ever worked for you?”
    Their response, “No.”
    “Then what on earth makes you think it will work this time?”
    My eldest, almost 15, responded the other day, “Well it’s always worth another try, right?” :D

    • Love this! I also love that your 15 year old has a sense of humor!

  15. I just found you via Pinterest and appreciated your post. As for the earlier people who wanted to criticize and say that this is “nothing new” I just think they obviously never struggled with consistency and have always parented perfectly. I am an intelligent and loving mom who wants to do her best. However, with everything I have to remember in a day, plus the physical and emotional fatigue of being a “med school widow” I personally find catch phrases or other clever ways of making tried and true parenting techniques easier for me to stick with a huge help. It’s also just encouraging to know (as a new mom) that I’m not the only one who is having a hard time in a certain area. So, I just wanted to say, Amy, that this came at just the right time when I really needed it. Thanks!

    • Thank you for your encouragement, Mrs.Ogg! Also – glad you found us on Pinterest. We’ve been doing a lot of posting on Pinterest lately and I’m happy to know it’s working!

  16. This technique also models something very important to our kids — that THEY should not be pressured into changing their own answers when their peers nag them to forsake their own values for their peers’. When others try to persuade them to do something they don’t want to do, they will feel empowered to say no and stand by that conviction.

    I understand earlier commenters’ concerns that this technique doesn’t teach kids persistence or questioning skills. I think you could reconcile this paradox by saying, “You’ve already given your reasons and I’ve given mine. Do you have any NEW reasons I should know about?” This teaches kids about real persuasion, rather than whining. For older kids, maybe even teach your kids to reframe their requests from “why *I* want something” to “why this will benefit YOU or the FAMILY” (which is a technique that will serve them in career and beyond).

  17. I only need one word to describe this article…awesome! Thanks soooo much!! This is going to end a lot of arguing in my home!

    • Thanks Carrie! Enjoy the tool!

  18. This post is perfectly timed! We’re about to go on an 8 hr car ride and I always get the “are we there yet?” before we’re even out of Raleigh! I plan on using this! Thanks!

    • Heather – safe travels! Are we there yet?? :)

  19. Depending on the child, this doesn’t actually work to make them unlearn the behavior. Mine still ask…over and over and over. But they still get the same answer…over and over and over. It at least provides a short and simple response that keeps us from having to say “no” again and again.

    • Rachel – another approach is to not answer at all. Reveal in advance that you’ve already answered that question and won’t respond the next time they ask. By removing the verbal exchange – you remove the “payoff” for that behavior and they’ll realize there’s no point in asking. Thanks for sharing!

  20. Nagging and repetitive asking occurs when parents are inconsistent. The inconsistency leads the child to believe that asking one more time, louder or longer will eventually get the parent to give-in. The child really believes that if they can just push the parent far enough, they will get what they want. I do like the “asked and answered” concept, but I think it is not necessary. Children who believe that their parents mean what they say, trust that their parents will actually follow through and who understand that acting out or repetitive asking will never result in getting their way, do not nag or asked for something several times. What is required here is parental consistency. Kids can learn that no means no and when they do, you will not need this clever tool.

    • Sheena – you’re right – we want to help parents get to the point that they don’t need this tool at all. However, if parents haven’t been consistent, this is a great way to reinforce the limits. Consistency is key! Thanks for weighing in!

  21. this why we have all these obnoxious, demanding, spoiled, immature adults walking around. they were disciplined your way. you have to let them know that no means no. why do you think we have all the problems we do in schools today. parents raising kids like you say in your book.

    • Can you just go away!!! No one wants to know what you have to say. If this technique is not for you then keep your outrageous comments to yourself.

    • Julie, were you spanked? Because you seem to have turned into an obnoxious, immature adult, so maybe your way doesn’t really work either.

      Stop trolling.

  22. Love it straight to the point. I will def. use that. My son is 12 and a good boy the older he gets he try’s pushing more. But this will end the debate.

    • It’s perfectly natural for kids to test the boundaries as they enter the tween/teen years. I agree that tools like this remind kids that you’ll stay firm with the limits you’ve set in place. Good luck! :)

  23. @Julie
    This clearly isnt the parenting technique of your choice. Beating your kids seems more up your alley. If you dont have anything positive to add to this discussion. Please just BE QUIET. Many parents may find this helpful and your nasty comments about just spanking your kids DOES NOT help.
    From a Mom who occasionally spanks her kids.

  24. My son is 9 going on 15 with a bad attitude and is a smart negotiator. I’ll give it a go with him. Anything is worth a try. He is driving us crazy. He seems to be constantly moaning, badgering us for things and is acting like a spoilt brat.

    • HI Nicola – it sounds like you have some power struggles on your hands. Work on being FIRM on the limits you’ve set. Also – I invite you to join one of our upcoming free training webinars. One of the things I cover is how to structure consequences in a way is very clear about the limits and provides no room for moaning and badgering. You can find upcoming dates here: http://www.positiveparentingsolutions.com/free-parenting-training Best of luck to you!

  25. Love it! Short and sweet. It will do the trick with my kids. Can’t wait to try it out today.

  26. As a prosecutor, I’m going to use this technique on needy defense attorneys, whose nagging and negotiating often resembles that of children ;)

  27. Great advice. I will try this with my 3.5 year old son.

    • Thanks Char! Let us know how it goes with your little guy! :)

  28. For kids with AUTISM or SPEECH DELAYS…Stacy Pulley, Speech & Language Pathologist, who was quoted in the article offered the following clarification:

    When our kids will ask over and over (and have autism, language delays or other challenge) I answer it but then write the answer that I said (in word or picture form) so as they ask again…I point…to the answer. Later, we can even point to the dry erase board when it’s clear/empty and cue them to “picture” their answer…as that visualization then expression is key to improved language development. In case someone wanted clarification….thanks!

    • I will try this with my almost 3 yr old, I’m having a hard time since he is in a daycare while I work and he seems to do well but when we get home the nagging and whining starts specially at bedtime, I will try the drawings since I speak to him in spanish at home and he seems confused when it comes to explanations so he will keep demanding what he wants and I refuse to keep using “no” as an answer only because it sounds the same in both languages, I was raised in a household where spanking and yealling was normal and it seemed to work according to our parents, but I rather have my son’s respect than fear, I love reading about positive parenting!! Thank you!

  29. Thanks for the great reminder. Found you on Pinterest. I have four teenagers. Our family has a rule of no sleepovers. Most of my children know not to even ask. However, my 14 year old daughter, who is quite the social butterfly, asks me every week if she can sleepover at her friends. I am usually trying to explain the rule and she is usually crying and negotiating with me for about an hour. I think this particular dialogue will be very useful. Thank you!

    • Thanks for finding us, Rikelle! If you’ve already explained the rule in a calm and respectful way – there’s no need to explain again and again every time the issue comes up! Let us know how it goes!

  30. I love this advice and especially love the way you diffuse confrontations even in adults. It shows you realky know how to talk to people of all ages. I will be reading from now on!

    • Melissa – thank you! So glad you’ll be coming back for more!

  31. I use this in my classroom daily! I don’t say “asked and answered”, but I do say, “I already gave you an answer.” Then I walk away. As a whole staff, we have also been taught to simply say, “I don’t argue with students (or children.)” and then walk away calmly. It really cuts down on the constant whining from a classroom of kiddos and provides some consistency you can tell they aren’t getting at home.

    • Kristin – so true. You can choose to engage in the power struggle or not! Better to NOT engage! Thanks for sharing your experience!

  32. This post and comments gave me diarrhea.

  33. I love this logic. It’s easy to understand, easy to employ, and effective.

    It’s so sad to me that there are those who look nostalgically backwards in time and romanticize the more prevalent use of corporal punishment as the golden solution to all of our parenting problems. But that was only one small part of the equation. I would submit that yester-year’s parents also used consistency and firm boundaries, responsibility and accountability as tools in their parenting tool boxes, in addition to teaching their children ethics, manners, and values. The problems we have with today’s unruly and disrespectful kids come not from parents who don’t spank, but rather from parents who don’t use any effective disciplinary techniques at all!

    In other words, what we are lacking is not corporal punishment specifically, but discipline generally. And bravo to those who strive to primarily employ effective parenting techniques that aren’t abusive! I don’t mean to suggest that spanking doesn’t have its place. But it should be used sparingly, and only out of love. Never anger.

    But discipline is still only part of the equation. Parents today have the difficult challenge of raising children amidst a barrage of blatant portrayals of disrespect and immorality in movies, music, and television programming. Gone are the days of “The Cosby Show” and “Leave it to Beaver.” Those are the things to feel nostalgic about!

    Thank you, Amy, for the good work you are doing!

  34. Been using this for the past week ad it’s awesome- with my 4 year old

    • Thanks, Mary! So glad it was helpful to you! :)

  35. I always love learning new tools for parenting, and this one is right with my usual syle. Funny thing being, as I’m reading through this page my 4 year old is bugging for a race track to be built. I had already explained that it was 5min to bedtime and we can’t build a track tonight. He kept coming back, so DUH, put what I’m reading to use. “Did you already ask this?” “Yes” “What did I say” “No because its 5minutes to bed” “So am I going to change my mind?”. He turned back to his cars and hasn’t asked again.

  36. This is great. Thanks to _ACCIDENTAL HOUSEWIFE for bringing up the issue I thought of, “I don’t want them to stop asking altogether”. This is a tool, not an end all. It is used when the child comes back again with their request, it’s used and then it’s all put to rest. It doesn’t cease prior discussion and it isn’t the only thing our kids hear in response. Occasionally they need to hear a yes or they will learn to act first, ask for forgiveness later.
    TIA – I did as you suggested, gave them an explanation. Soon the children required more and more complex answers to be convinced. Meanwhile, if my neighbors said, “No”, to the same requested PJ Party… their NO spoke to the entire neighborhood; no more explanation needed. (Guess whose house ended up with the PJ Party?) So, don’t belittle the tool. I still have nightmares of trying to get my family, husband included) to get in the car, QUICK, before some eminent danger is about to get us and they’re all waiting for the EXPLANATION! That said, JULIE – You’re all kinds of trouble, aren’t you?! If we teach that “No” comes with violence and anger, our children will fear asking and that eventually leads to a fear of asking and learning in school, etc as well. Worse, I would venture rapes (since you broached the subject) happen from a perpetrator that associates, “No!”, with violence and anger and that he/she would have a twisted response to the word NO; since it got him/her beaten.
    It’s time for you to change your ways!
    CYNDI – It’s true! There are times when our children’s requests are in need of further information or investigation before we can answer them, so, I like your adaptation of, “If you need the answer right now, it will have to be no, otherwise, let me look into it and we’ll see if it could be a yes”.
    Well done, Amy McCready!

  37. this is great! Thanks. So simple. Sometimes when the nagging and negotiating starts…I get all befuddled and forget great stuff like this. Thanks. Also….man you get some snarky mean comments. Geez.

    • HI Erin! Thanks for your supportive comments. re: the snarky comments – sadly, that comes with the territory. I’ll admit I tend to take it personally because my mission is to help parents – but I’m working on “letting it go!” Also – just like with kids – I don’t respond to the negative behavior. If I respond to the snarkiness – it gives the “behavior” a hit of attention and power and I don’t want to go there! :) I’m grateful for your support and for the wonderful encouragement from so many of our readers. xo

  38. I think this is a wonderful tactic for children. However, I think older kids (teens) deserve reasons. Just a simple “no”, “Because I said so” and “Asked and Answered” can be frustrating. I remember when I was a teen I wanted to know the ‘why’ behind it all.

    • Heather – that’s a great point. I think kids of all ages deserve the “WHY” response. The “Asked and Answered” tool is for after you’ve already given a thoughtful WHY answer. Does that make sense? Thanks for sharing!

  39. If you can’t control your kids without using physical reinforcement then I’m sorry, you aren’t doing a good job as a parent. I was spanked as a kid. Maybe in the short term it “shuts your kids up” but in the long term it is planting seeds of resentment towards you and the world. Physical violence reinforces the ignorance that is the right way to solve problems. This is how bullies are made, or suicidal kids are made. The person that wrote this article is correct in wanting to spread the knowledge to all uneducated parents that it’s important to be an example of being assertive and sticking to your convictions. Yelling back and losing your temper isn’t the same either. My kids know better than to talk back to me just from a look I can give them. Kids aren’t pets, they are tiny people that need help in growing up to be a decent adult. Psychology isn’t a science but it certainly can be extremely insightful.

  40. First, I think there’s a time and a place for a spanking. The idea of “beating” a kid to get them to stop nagging is just proving yourself (the adult) to be just as immature as the child. If we can’t control our tempers how will our kids learn? (I’m not a parent, btw, just a daycare provider who wants to offer her 2 cents, whatever they’re worth) A spanking is meant to snap a child back to a place where they are ready to listen, but if you can do that by just speaking to them all the better.

    Second, I’d be interested to use this with my 3-year old class at work, although it might prove difficult as my coworkers aren’t the most consistent with their approaches to discipline!

  41. What about with a 2 year-old? I’m sure my daughter won’t understand all this reasoning. She keeps insisting and crying, even I keep my position and don’t change my mind.

    • At her age she isn’t going to understand–you can’t reason with a child. I would just say no and then not allow her to have a fit. (I know easier said then done but if you persevere then it will be a lot easier later on). I have 4 children and my youngest is 22 mos. she frequently wants what I won’t let her. It’s a stage–just be more persistent then her that your way is right. Do not give in.

    • Thanks Hilary!! That’s what I thought, I just wanted to have a second opinion.

  42. It’s just another way of saying “Because I said so.”

  43. I don’t like this approach because it makes children feel powerless. If both the parent and the child compromise a little, you can teach your young ones negotiating skills that will be very useful later inlife while simultaneously boosting their confidence.

  44. Hi, Amy! I just found this site, via Pintrest, and I can’t wait to do more exploring! I will be trying this with my four year old. He is always nagging! I have been trying not to yell as much. I was yelled at a lot as a kid and in my teen years. Even though I was well behaved, it was because of fear rather than respect. I want my children to respect me, and can’t wait to check out more of your site! This is simple and to the point. I love it!

  45. I like this idea. I have 3 girls and I have always been led to believe that I am too strict with them. They are now ages 11, 13 & 18 and I often get complimented on their manners and respect. I don’t think I am a control freak, but I AM the adult and the parent. I make a decision and I stick to it. Am I always right? No. Do I sometimes look back and think to myself that I could have said yes and it would have been ok? Yes. Do I think my child’s life was ruined because I didn’t let them go outside and play in the rain when it was 30 degrees? No. It drives me crazy when parents tell their kids no and then decide, after further nagging, that maybe they should say yes…it’s not going to hurt anyone. I want to raise persistent children when they are working towards a goal, not when they are trying to convince others to give them their way. I think there is a distinct difference. The world is full of spoiled, rude kids because they have been raised to believe they are entitled to anything they want if they can convince others that it’s ok….

    • The world is also full of individuals that are rigid and unmovable and whom are completely unreasonable to deal with. Think of the small child with crossed arms defiantly saying no because they are so willful.

      What is needed is balance. It should not be one-sided.

      A persistent child will find a way to get their way. Most people have at one time or another learned that it is easier to get forgiveness than permission.

      Compromise is better, IMO.

  46. I wonder how this will work (back fire) when the child gets older. Mom or Dad asks them to do something – they object. Mom and Dad ask again and are met with “Asked and Answered”. LOL. I think I’ve met some really difficult to manage youngsters who have been brought up like this. I would not advise this.

  47. This is great. I don’t have kids but I plan on using this on my Girlfriend

  48. I debated long and hard about whether or not to respond to the comments here, and finally decided I just couldn’t keep quiet. First of all, I am the mother of four children and have been working in early childhood, including daycare, preschool, and kindergarten, my entire adult life. I have used variations of this approach throughout that entire time. I have not used this particular wording, but I must say that I like how clear and concise it is. I am planning to try it in my kindergarten classroom as well as with the two children we still have at home.
    In response to the people who are concerned about stifling their children somehow by giving a firm no and sticking to it, without allowing for argument…I am sorry, but in the real world there are going to be many situations when your child is going to be expected to accept no for an answer and not be allowed to argue or negotiate. That strategy is rarely effective or appreciated by employers or police officers, for example. There are times we just have to accept that there are rules and we are expected to follow them. This strategy seems perfectly suited for teaching that lifelong skill. Using this strategy in situations where you are trying to gain compliance to a rule, does not mean that you cannot allow opportunities for children to negotiate in other situations where such a rule doesn’t exist.
    I firmly believe in giving children the reason for why I tell them no for something, once, but when they persist in trying to get that thing they want, they are no longer listening to what reasons they are given no matter how many times or how many different ways you say them. They are just trying to wear you down!
    So relax! Tell your child NO and stand firm. Your child will be the better for it. You will be the better for it. And so will everyone who works with your child down the road:)
    Thank you, Amy, for an easier way to say what I have been saying for years:) Thanks also for the post on pinterest which is where I found this. Fascinating reading!

    • I have encountered plenty of teachers who know very little about what it best for children. I’m happy not to have children being taught by you.

    • To clarify what I mean about being happy I don’t have children you will be teaching. I say this because you appear to claim that you employ or approve of this technique for compliance to “rules” but then you go on to try and make your argument by talking about employing it in an effort to prevent children from attempting to have things their way or getting what they want. I can’t think of any legitimate ‘rules’ (noun) that would require this technique…so I’m left to believe that supporters mean ‘rule’ (verb). Again, I’m happy not to have children being ruled over by a teacher. Take note parents, and advocate for your children, in our schools.

  49. We have been using a variation of this with our kids. When they try asking repeatedly our answer is “Mommy/Daddy has spoken”.

    • LOL – sounds like ruling to me. “Her Majesty / His Highness has spoken”.

  50. I’m going to be trying this out, I have a four year old that begs constantly and it grates on my nerves. Gonna give this a go!!

  51. Salina, did it work for you?

  52. I have 2 children that are always asking again and again after I say no. One is 9 and one is 6. Gonna give this a try!

    • Great! Let us know how it works for you Krista! Thank you!

    • I used the response “ask 3 Times and the answer is automatically NO”
      It worked for my girls! This includes “can i stay over night at Amy’s” The 1st time something is asked is the legitimate ask. 2nd time was a reminder to me to think about it. I often set the kitchen timer to really think about it or call the parent to verify. After the timer went off I’d give my daughter my answer. But if she asked before the timer the answer ws NO. Good luck. I do like the asked and answered response.

  53. I love this. But the question I have is what about when they ask “Why” they can’t do something, that they have asked for and I have answered “No.” That is where my frustration comes in. Because if I explain why, my 9 year old inevitably will come up with a counter argument. And I usually don’t have time for a debate. How do we handle the ‘Buuuuttttt WHHHHYYYYYYYY?”

    Thanks so much

    • Try including a very simple answer to the “why” when you first answer the question to preempt the follow-up “why” from your child (Example:’No you can’t have a snack, because it’s too close to dinner.’) Then stick with the “Asked and Answered” routine. The why is just another tactic in trying to change your answer… :-) Thanks Momma O for asking!

    • My mom was the queen of shutting DOWN the “BUUUTTT WHHHYYYYYYYYY????” Her simple response, “Because I said so.” We usually couldn’t come up with a counter argument to THAT one … and even when we did I don’t think we dared to try it. The ‘because I said so’ was usually her way of saying, “I brought you into the world and I can take you out of it.”

    • Usually answer with a “because I’m mean”. My kids usually walk away…

  54. Geowibg up my mom used this concept. She said EOD which stood for End of Discussion. I HATED it because I knew it was the end. She refused to even say anything else. I told myself I would never say that to my kids. Lol. I like the asked and answered. Same concept, different words.

    • Thanks for sharing Marie! It is vert similar concept. I guess some tools are just timeless! :-)

  55. I use something similar with my kids when they want to turn a conversation into a negotiation. I make sure to stop, look them directly in the eye and say, “I’ve said my peace.” I do feel that they need to be heard and keeping that line of communication somewhat open is important. In doing this, they know that I’ve heard them, but I am the parent and my decision is not only going to stand, it is also not going to change. This has grown with them and now, as 2 of my 3 children are teenagers, it is a respectful non-volitale way to conclude an issue. It is not always a satisfactory conclusion for all involved but the back and forth is done.

    • So true! Thanks Dawn for sharing!

  56. One thing I’ve noticed in recent years is that most young mothers unwittingly allow their kids to negotiate by giving a command (“stop that now!” “Please clean up your toys”, “Stop whining”) and then they finish the command with “…OK?”…which to my way of thinking is giving the kid the option to say no…I don’t want to do it. I realize this may be slightly off topic, but it also ties in to the way one talks to children to get desired results (Asked and Answered) and stop finishing commands or behavior bribes with “…OK?”

    • Great point Linda!

    • Asking a child if something is okay is one of my pet peeves. It gives them the idea that the parent doesn’t have the final say. I was on a flight once that was actually late leaving because a mother and flight attendant were having trouble getting a child to leave her seat-belt buckled. They kept saying, “it’s just until after we get up in the air and then you can unbuckle it, okay?” The child kept saying “noooo,” and continued to scream. I sooo wanted to get up out of my seat and tell them I would handle it for them, lol. (I had the experience, I’m the mom of 7 extremely well-behaved kids.) We finally took off, accompanied to ear-splitting screams from both mother and child.

    • Oh my gosh, Linda!!!! That (used) to be SO me!! I didn’t realize how that sounded until I heard my husband say it to one of our kids….& I was like, “that’s not an option…” Great point, Linda.

    • I have never even thought about that.

  57. I love this and will give it a try. Currently, our system includes, “if you ask twice you must complete a chore” immediately. That has worked well. I then added, “if I have to ask you twice, complete a chore.”

  58. So simple…Love it. Thanks for the fantastic idea.

    • You are welcome Sue! Thanks for commenting. :-)

  59. Amy this one really rocks!!!
    Can I share on my Happy Parenting Community Page?
    Regards
    Judith-Rose Max

    • Share away Judith and thanks so much!

  60. I love this approach. I think in a perfect world if I still had my cool :-) I would probably start off with “I hear that you want to…” before saying no the first time, to show empathy. Just pinned this!

  61. Love this. Will give it a try. Thanks

  62. This is a good idea. We must make sure we aren’t snarky about it though. The tone of our voice is important – calm and gentle but firm. It cannot be like ‘talk to the hand’. Sometimes I just say ‘I am not negotiating – I gave an answer. I am sorry you are disappointed. You can choose to be disappointed about this or you can be thankful for…. (some other opportunity or thing that is good)’.

  63. I think this is great. However, the script as written here seems like it would work best for 4+ year olds. I am wondering how to best adapt it for a 2 year old that asks for things relentlessly. Thanks!

    • At that age they are really testing their boundaries and can understand waaaay more than they let on. It is the perfect time to set the right habits for when they are bigger.

  64. I would like to use this for “yes” answers as well! My little guy keeps asking me even after I’ve said “yes” as if he needs to remind me. I tell him after the third or fourth time that if he asks again, my asnwer is changing. I don’t like that. I’d rather have this simple tool and remember to use it!

    • My almost 7 year old does the same!

  65. Yes! Finally the soulution is here! Hope this works! :)

  66. This goes a step too far IMO. With my daughter, from the time she could understand me, I did something very simple. If she asked for something, or to do something, I took a second to consider and gave my final answer. Once. If the answer was no, my daughter knew the answer was no. She didn’t ask again, not even 5 minutes later, because she knew it was pointless. She never whined or cried. Because I NEVER changed my mind. Too many parents (and I don’t know why someone said young parents because I see this with parents young and old) say no, and than when the child whines they say “Fine, whatever”. You do that once and your child has learned, subconsciously, what it takes to get a yes. Whine enough and I can have a cookie before dinner! Whine enough and I get whatever I want! You can’t blame them, parents are the ones that have taught them this. Parents create whiners. I hate when parents complain their child is a whiner, it’s not the child’s fault. So, if you want to never start whining or end it now. Just start meaning what you say, the first time. (And don’t forget to sometimes say yes too!). And yes, my daughter is grown and never whined.

    • I’ve NEVER gone back on an answer I’ve given my son and he still asks and asks and asks, so your logic here isn’t right for everyone. You should stop sitting there in judgment of other parents and next time you see something like this you disagree with, put it in terms of how you yourself do things, not the rest of the world.

    • Rose, I agree with Ashley – your response is rude, judgmental, and disrespectful to the author of the post. Let’s hope that you’re teaching your children that if they don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it at all.

    • Techniques that work with one child will not work with others. Consistency is definitely the key, no matter which methods you choose but some kids are born naggers. My 4 yr old son is the most persistent kid on the planet and we are not wishy washy parents. We use our own version of the technique but we still have to work hard at sticking to our guns.

      I hate it when parents criticize other parents because their own child doesn’t have that particular trait. Trust me, your own child is not perfect, just as you are not the perfect parent. We are all doing the best we can, it’s called being human

  67. You mentioned the “are we there yet” nag that kids love to employ. I volunteer for several organizations that require me to drive kids around, and I have found a technique to counter this that works immediately no matter how well the kid knows me.

    When a child asks “are we there yet” the first time I tell them what my response will be every time they ask that for the remainder of the trip. And then, for each time they ask after that, I push the cruise control “down” button (whether I’m using cruise or not) without saying a word.

    I’ve never had a kid ask more than twice.

  68. Also, on the root topic of this article. When my kids were younger I employed the “if you ask a second time the answer will be no regardless of the question” technique.

    Now that they are older (9 and 11) I allow the kids a rebuttal after the first time they ask. Our deal is that they are allowed to make a well reasoned argument (whining is not an argument) and I will listen to it and then reconsider — but then once I have reconsidered my ruling is final whether they have changed my mind or not.

  69. So in that theory all children have only been spanked one time? It’s clear you have decided how you are going to parent your child, so why do you come here to antagonize others? Do you not have better things to do with your time than to troll? Spanking is for lazy parents. And never spanking your child does not mean your child is spoiled, entitled, whiny, etc. Great parents know how to raise a smart, well adjusted, non-spoiled child without teaching them that hitting is okay. Now go get a job and do something better with your time. I’m sure Taco Bell is hiring.

  70. My almost 8 year old is a Lego kiddo right now….he saves all his money for new Legos. He’s also in the “WHYYYYY…WHAT? How come I have to…That’s not fair complete with pouting and stomping off, etc stage. Finally I’d had enough, sat him down and told him everytime I heard any of that come out of his mouth or he tantrumed like that he owed me 50 cents. He lost 1$ the first day. He did earn it back after a few days. He’s now given me a few dollars over the last few weeks. Definitly going to employ this tactic as well!

  71. What do you say when your child says, “no is not an option and then no is not a choice!”

    • They always have a choice. Always. The choice might be between:
      A) You accept “no” properly and without complaint
      or
      B) You nag or complain and the answer will still be no but in addition you will not be able to….

      This has worked many times where the more they argued the longer their list of cannots becomes. “Still arguing? Ok, lets add another day of no TV. Oh, what’s that? more arguing? Two days? Three days? wow, four days? …” And then stick to it. But let them know that they ALWAYS have a choice. Their reactions are always up to them, and putting the ball in their court gives them a sense of control over those reactions.

    • Well said Jessica! Thanks for commenting.

  72. I do this as well! Not word for word, but in a sense. When my kids were little, it would drive me insane! And it seemed like it would NEVER end. But the consistency paid off and my kids now accept it immediately even if they get a “no.” I might see a pouty face, but its usually short-lived. There are occasions when I do change my mind, but it as seen as an exception and not a rule. Boy, it was tough work for awhile there, but I’m so glad I stayed consistent!

    • Consistency is SO important in whatever tool you’re using. :-)

  73. I think its really important to add that whenever you can give a reason (with the initial “no” given) then you should. Especially as they get older. Its natural for them to want to understand the thinking and even to question it to a point. I’m thinking especially of tweens and teenagers. Our culture today feeds young people with the mindset that parents are morons and kids should be able to make all of their own choices. Explaining whenever possible reminds them that you are not just blithely rejecting them or their wants, and enables them to think in such a way that when they are away from you, they can make wise decisions on their own.

    • So true!

    • Definitely the wisest reply I’ve heard. How else will kids learn to make their own decisions. Also, the art of negotiating and compromising is a very important skill for adults to have. I would hate to “keep them down” or prevent them from being able to practice that skill.
      I really do like this idea but not until the have told you why it is so important to them and you are able to explain the them what the natural consequence will be if they are allowed to do it.

  74. Not a big fan of this. This ‘technique’ is really just a cop out for shutting down your children. Children have the right to state their case just as much as anyone else, and I intend to raise children who will understand that solid arguments and negotiations for rights and privileges pay off.
    No boss I know of in the real world would use this “asked and answered” technique. Instead, they asked for incentive and reasoning when being asked for favors, promotions, or the option to change how things work in the workplace. No spouse would use the “asked and answered” technique, instead looking for compelling reasons to give in to a request.
    Bullheadedly shutting down your children without the offer of any give-and-take teaches them to try once, and then give up if the answer is no. That’s not how the real world works, folks, and that’s not how I want my kids to grow up. Of course there will be some limits and boundaries that I will not allow them to cross – but the reasoning I provide will not simply be “because I already said no” – that’s hogwash. They will know the reasons, because those rules will have good reasons behind them. Every other rule: My children will know that if they provide a solid enough case, or a good enough bargain to the contrary of the rule, then they can see some flexibility.
    Because that’s how the real world works. And I will raise kids who succeed at life.
    So while your kids give up after the first couple of tries at promotion, my kids will continue to push the limits in a healthy way, and they will get those promotions.
    Your technique is sabotage against your children.

    • I think the difference between this technique in the real world and your kids is that your boss or spouse etc don’t ask you the same question 15 times in 5 minutes hoping your answer will change. It’s not suggesting you answer every question they have in this manner, it’s the whinging non stop begging…

    • Great point Tania!

    • I like this. I don’t see any reason to tolerate nagging, but if you can channel their desires into learning how to reason and negotiate like an adult, then that strikes me as far better. Obviously you have to consider what’s age appropriate, but I’ve found that even 3-5 year old children can come up with pretty creative and acceptable compromises if they understand your reasoning.

      When my sister’s oldest boy was about four, they were at a playground and she told them that they would be leaving in a few minutes. After a few minutes, mom said it was time to go. Immediately, the 4 year old became distressed and expressed a desire to go down the slide. Rather than immediately turning it into a power struggle, she asked him why he didn’t go when she said they had only a few minutes left. Turns out he had been eyeing the slide the whole time they were there, but hadn’t yet worked up the courage to try it alone. So she told him that she had an appointment to go to, but that if he used the slide right now they would still have time. He did, and everyone left happy.

      I can’t deny that there are times and places where you don’t have the time to negotiate, but a very authoritarian approach to differences rubs me just as badly as being inconsistent and rewarding the nagging.

    • Ah, words of wisdom from a childless “parent”. I, too, was a perfect parent and had all the answers. That all ended when I had my first child! LOL If I had a dime for every time I said, “I will never…” Or “My kids will never” BEFORE I was a parent, I would be rich. Report back to us when you have 3 or 4 kids and let us know how your ideals work out for you in the real world.

    • Very well said Lisa! Very well said.

    • I am a business owner. If an employee whined, nagged and asked me over and over for a promotion after I told them no, I would fire them. Your “real world” rationale doesn’t hold water.

      I think this is a great technique that teaches them to be well thought out and prepared when they present their case the first time; voicing all considerations and perspectives in a respectful manner. That’s the kind of employee who gets the promotion.

    • David, you are perfectly right. We’re trying to raise humans here, are we not? Not train dogs. I believe a lot of whining happens when children don’t feel listened to or respected. I was feeling a bit down about the state of respect in the world until I came across your post. No wonder people complain about the lack of respect “kids these days” have. They learn by example and need first to be shown some respect.
      I have three very polite children who will respectfully and eloquently defend themselves against shenanigans such as “asked and answered”. Negotiation is encouraged and is a great life skill. Reason, however, is never “whined” about. Sometimes their reasoning is better than mine, and there’s never a prouder moment knowing I’m doing my parenting job well.

    • Nowhere does it state that there can’t be a negotiation step added in, the idea is to stop NAGGING. As for the dog training comment, no we are not training dogs but we are training the next generation of adults.

    • Guessing David is not ACTUALLY a parent. No, I am sure of it.

  75. Definitely going to try this… We have an almost 4 year old who tries the “I’ll do what you asked, ifffff you do this for me” problem. She has gone as far as hiding her 12 year old sisters headgear in order to bribe her. We also have a 9 year old boy who will ask and ask and ask and ask….

  76. Just so you all know it doesn’t work for all kids.. my mother started me on this when i was 8….. and i never stopped asking questions. It never worked for me. I still wanted to know, and believed my way was better.

  77. “No” works too! I think “no” can be very effective. It’s short. It’s easily understandable by children beginning about age 2. If I used “asked and answered”, there would tend to be a sarcastic tone to my voice.

    The other thing is to teach your children when they are old enough to understand; that the answer is always “yes” unless there is a reason for the “no”; and you are willing to explain and discuss “no” answers, if they need to understand why. Children think parents are arbitrarily mean. This helps them understand that your job is not dictatorship, but to provide for their needs (not their wants) and protect them from harm.

    • Good thoughts Susan M.

    • I love your thought that “the answer is always “yes” unless there is a reason for the “no” ” That will help my son immensely.

  78. This works great with my very persistent 9 year old son.

  79. I need help urgently, I have a 16 year old that ignores everthing. I tell her to do. She looks you right in the face turn around and go sit in her room. What in the world can I do to get her to help around . She doe’nt even clean her room . She also terorisses her 7 year old brother. It’s fighting for morning till night . I can talk nicely, begging them to stop but she ignores me flat out. I’m just scared that my son will also pick up this hAbitS . She was born from my first marrige, and my son from the second marrige. It seems to me that sins I remarried her attitude changed she was a lovely toddler always did what I ask but all changed . The kids love each other but she likes to terrorise him . Please I really don’t know what to do any more

    • I love Dr. Glasser….Choice Theory is the name of the book…Don’t do anything to impair your relationship with your daughter, just listen to her and get her back…and stop yelling at her and trying to control her. Once she is back, they automatically do all of the right things. Think of your relationship with your friends, you don’t yell at them, belittle them, demand they do what you want…you treat them with respect and show gratitude toward them for being in your life. It will take a few weeks, but she will be like a new kid and hopefully you will be a new parent.

    • Have you tried walking in her room and saying nothing but good positive things to her. Don’t focus on what she isn’t doing but only what she’s doing right. Then leave the room and make a daily chore for you to go in and tell her what she did that day that you really liked or what she handled “like an adult”. It’s amazing how you start seeing more of that behavior and less of the negative.

  80. This is also known as the silent close. It works in many situation in life.

  81. My 4-yr old has started the nagging and begging lately. I have been saying something to the effect of “You asked, and my answer was no. We’re not talking about this any more” But I like the short and sweet “Asked and Answered” better! Will start trying this tomorrow!!!

    • Would love to hear how it’s working for you Jenny! Thanks for commenting. :-)

  82. My daughter does well at school, so says her teacher.

    But one thing we have been noticing recently is that when you ask her a question (at times – its not all the time), she will reply you something else.

    Her teacher has yesterday told us that she asked her a question and she replied something else. when asked her again, she cried.

    We are unsure what is the matter or if she is just shy and prefers to ignore the teacher.

    Is there a cause for this or is there a way to improve on her speech, i mean to reply what is being asked properly.

    • Hi Rosianne, I am a speech/language pathologist. There could be a couple of things going on, but since she is doing fine academically, it is most likely that she just wasn’t paying attention. Children’s brains are still developing and their ability to think logically, handle their emotions, and control how their thoughts/emotions affect their behavior may be inconsistent, especially in adolescence. She may have been daydreaming (is she an imaginative child?) or perhaps she was working out a problem in her mind (is she very detail-oriented?). Either way, she should not be punished, embarassed/humiliated, or made to cry when she is caught not paying attention. The best way to treat this, in my opinion, is with kindness — unless of course, there is an ongoing pattern of intentionally ignoring the teacher, but she sounds like a child who cares what her teacher and parents think. I’d just repeat the question, with background info if necessary, and then give her time to think about it and respond. For example, “We’re looking at problem #7. Jesse suggested using the associative property to solve this problem. What other method might work?” In this way, the teacher is redirecting her attention in a kind, non-judgmental way. If her difficulty with paying attention becomes a consistent issue, she may need to see a pediatrician or audiologist to rule out a hearing problem or attention deficit disorder. An evaluation by a speech/language pathologist could determine if she has an auditory processing disorder – this is where her hearing is fine, but the message does not process into language as efficiently as it should, so listening comprehension is reduced. A speech therapist can help her to overcome this problem, if that is the case. Good luck!

  83. When my son, now 21, would whine when he was 3-4 years old, I would tell him as plainly and unemotionally as possible that I couldn’t understand him when he talked to me that way. In 3 short days, he no longer was a whiner. I also never said yes to candy/gum/toys in the store checkout line, hence a child who knew we don’t purchase impulse items. He stopped asking, and I never was nagged to buy these things by the time he was 4-5 years old.

    I use the same strategy with my Nursery School class, and all the kids come around to realize they need to use their words, not whining or nagging, and what I say-I mean. It’s simple, plain, and easy to do. YOU just have to be consistent and kind in your approach.

    • Great testament to how this works Mrs. O. Thanks so much for sharing!

  84. HAHAHAHAHAA yeaaaa that don’t work. Not on my brats anyway~

  85. You often hear “Asked and Answered” at press conferences when journalists repeat questions that have already been asked. Might as well teach the kids this concept early. Thanks for the GREAT tip! I’m starting today.

    • Great! Keep us posted how it works!

  86. My mom used something like this but her response was always… what does no mean. The response she wanted from us was no means no. And that was that. No further discussion needed. She never waivered or chnaged her mind.

  87. I am pinnig!

  88. Similar to what my Dad used with my sister and I. Begging is an Automatic “No” Worked so well when we would ask something and our friends would begin to beg for us we would shush them and explain the rule. We use it with our daughter and never had any problems with begging or tantrums when she didn’t get what she wanted.

    • Perfect example, thanks for sharing Sara!

  89. I am just getting to this constantly asking then “pllleeeeeaaaase” stage with my 4 year old, so I tried this technique recently. Today I said I would like us to sing together in the car. His response: “Do I look like the kind of kid that wants to sing in the car?” LOL! I expect that the next time I ask him something twice or three times (Are you sure you’re done with your apple?) I am going to hear “Asked and answered!”

    • Hilarious Carrie! Thanks for sharing. :-)

  90. I really don’t understand how this is positive parenting… or maybe I don’t understand what you mean by positive parenting. To me, it sounds exactly like saying, “Because I said so.”

    • It’s not a “because I said so”…it’s an “I’ve already answered you and explained why and I’m not going to continue having the same conversation with you over and over again.”

    • Well said Amy! :-)

  91. You must be an attorney!:)

  92. Nice I like that

  93. My kids are 21, 20 and 14. My first 2 would double tag me. All I would say was ” I am done.” It drove them crazy. Even today as old as they are if they bug me about something all I have to say are those 3 little words. Works every time. Lol

    • Same idea Malea, perfect! :-)

  94. I remember what my grandmother did for one especially long car ride… she gave me the map, and a piece of sticky tack, and showed me the highway we were travelling on the map. Whenever I wondered how much further there was, I would watch out the window for the next exit. Then I would find that on the map and move the sticky tack to that spot.

    Many parents get annoyed at the “Are we there yet” but they fail to remember what it was like being so small… when you have no measure of time because you are kindof new to life, and no idea where you are (unlike the parents who know the destination and the route to get there), a long trip can be a chasm of seemingly infinite non movement. I don’t mind answering my son of 7 years old, “it is 5pm on the clock. If the traffic is good, we should be there at 5:45. But we may need to readjust that timing if the traffic gets slow.” I also have taught him to not use the phrase “Are we there yet” because it annoys my husband, and obviously if we have not stopped, we are not there. A better question is, “how far away do you think we are now?”

    Questions = good. Whining = not good. ;)

  95. It worked!!! Tonight for the first time ever my twin 10year old girls put themselves to bed!!

    • Fabulous! Thanks for sharing your success Aime! ;-)

  96. I dislike the “Asked and Answered” response – however I am completely ok with the concept. Personally, I will say “What did I say before?” and they will remember the answer or give a rebuttal (usually a long whine or cry or “I WANT”) and I will say “I’m sorry but the answer is still No”, “I understand but the answer is still No.” “Scot, the answer is still No.”, or “Unless you come up with something else, I’ve already decided.” (because at times there are good reasons for things, especially with older children). I’m consistent in my responses, rarely giving in so nagging doesn’t happen unless he’s in a foul mood to begin with (or seeing other kids around), but I don’t give the same response each time ie “Asked and Answered” because I feel that it’s too easy for me to get short on such a response and having growing up with that even when young I felt it was a generic response given vs actually listening. I’m not saying to be inconsistent, I’m just saying I don’t like the use of a single phrase, it’s too easy to abuse and too easy for children to shout “YOUR NOT LISTENING TO ME!” (Of course, they still shout that some days even when you are listening…)

    Just my 2 cents

    • Thanks for sharing Mary! The basis is still the same, and your responses are perfect! :-)

  97. I also like to challenge them with, “how is that question different than the one I already answered?” I.e., asked and answered!

  98. I have a child who is constantly trying to negotiate (I think he might make a good lawyer some day). I am going to give this a try. Thanks!

    • You’re welcome! Keep me posted on your success! :-)

  99. My child one negotiates and tries different tactics all the time, so this might work on him, but I have number 2 (middle child) daughter who never asks, she hints and sneaks and complains that she didn’t get what everyone else has. I will have to find another 3 words for her. If she doesn’t ask in the first place I cant reply with asked and answered
    cheers.

  100. Every time we go over to my in-laws, my mother-in-law and 3 year old daughter ask me if she can sleep over. Sometimes I say yes, sometimes no. If I say no, it is a battle until the time we leave with BOTH of them nagging and “but why?”ing. My mother in law asks and encourages my daughter to ask again every few minutes. Even when she is buckled in the car seat and we are about to drive away. “Pleeeeease can she stay? Ask mommy one more time.” It drives me NUTS! How do I teach my daughter to stop nagging in this situation?

    • Great question! Follow the tips listed in this post would be a great start, but if you don’t mind I’d also like to post this question to the Facebook community as well, since I think the mother-in-law adds another wrinkle to the situation, an issue MANY of us deal with. Thanks for the question!

  101. What about when your 3 year old throws a huge kicking and screaming tantrum because you answered no? This happens every time she’s given this answer.

    • As did mine. Right up until she was six. She would have melt downs which included physical violence towards me. I have just recently had her diagnosed with odd ( oppositional defiant disorder). If you think it’s more than just temper tantrums see your gp. It can’t hurt. Ps…. My daughter is now coping with the word no beautifully. I hope this helps :)

    • Don’t be afraid of tantrums…..just walk away from them and don’t give them the time of day if they start

    • Scoop him her up and remove them from the scene, put her in a quiet spot until she is done with as few words as possible…like….”You can join the family(group/activity/whatever) when you stop screaming.” No negotiating. The trick is to disengage emotionally and verbally in order to not escalate their attempts to manipulate you- so pick ONE phrase- and if you have to communicate, repeat ONLY that phrase over and over. (i.e. You can join us when you’re calm… or….the play room is for calm kids..or….I love you but you can’t come out until you’re quiet) My kid was king of the vicious violent tantrum until about age 5. He is now a beautifully respectful loving teen. Patience, love, consistency.

    • And it’s hard- yes I remember those years- It’s hard to stay calm consistently in the face of constant tantrums. Do your best, but don’t be too hard on yourself :) It’s rare to see a 17 year old on the floor of the store screaming and flailing. This too shall pass :)

    • Don’t give her attention when she does that. My 2 1/2 year old throws a fit when I tell him no. I just say “that’s not going to get you what you want” and walk away. On the instances where he goes and screams (loud piercing screams), I stick him in time out.
      Sometimes I’ll do “maybe later” and redirect him somewhere else with another item to distract him. Sometimes it works.

    • That’s when it’s time for a spank on the butt. In love and not in anger.

    • You can’t hit someone “in love” Anonymous. I feel sorry for your children.

    • So you let your kid decide what’s best for them just because you don’t want to make a scene? My parents just took me to the rest room and I’d sit in there until I was done screaming.

    • I wonder why the people who suggest spanking post as anonymous? Maybe because you know in your heart that it’s wrong? It’s more work and patience to not hit your child but worth it in the end. I have grown children and I spanked the older two because I didn’t know better and they had problems in their teens and twenties ( they’re doing well now). The two younger boys, which I had later in life, were not spanked and are both well adjusted, motivated, one in college and one in high school, doing very well. So, sort of an unofficial double blind study and I have to say I vote for patience and non violence.

    • I had that issue with my daughter and I found it helpful not to just say ‘no’. If she asked me something where the answer was going to be no, I would get to her level and explain… Ex “it is very cold outside so I don’t think we should go out just yet. Shall we do that another time?” I found her much calmer once I started this. I also found the explanation at the start very important. Even if I we to do all the above but say “we’re not going to go out because.. waaaahhhhhhh. The negative answer cut through first.

    • A screaming child is a breathing child….which means that your response didn’t kill them.

    • Sorry But I spanked my Kids, Not often, but they got spanked when they were lying or disrespected me. I am happy to say I am very proud of my kids. They turned out very well. They were never in to partying and they work and pay there bills. My son is a Staff Sargent in the Air force and my other is a hard working person. Not all kids turn out bad is they get spanked. I grew up old school.

    • Bonny: “So, sort of an unofficial double blind study and I have to say I vote for patience and non violence.”

      So, your children didn’t know whether or not they were being spanked, and you didn’t know which children you spanked and which you didn’t? Or you just have no idea what a double blind study is?

    • I used a spray bottle on my kids when they went out of control. It happened by accident on the first, but it stopped him in his tracks and he never had a tantrum again. The second one I used one squirt in the face on 2 occassions. Put a drop of vinegar for biting spitting or cussing. I spanked them a few times but never had to after they were 3. All of my kids are well adjusted adults that never had any behavior issues in school. It may sound cruel and mean, but it worked well, also with the 40 or so daycare kids that I helped raise.

      I like the idea of asked and answered, I told mine that no meant no after I had explained that it wasn’t a good idea right now or ever and why. If they asked again I told them that we weren’t going to go to the park or whatever it was they were being demanding about for one week if they asked again.

      I’m one of 12 kids, I raised babies when I was a baby. I love kids, when they are being demanding, dramatic, playing games or annoying they aren’t enjoyable and noone can learn or have any fun. Raise your kids so that other children and adults will like them. If you love them, don’t spoil them! Life will be awfully tough for them if you do and your desire for them to be happy will only be at home, everywhere else they will be miserable and so will the people that have to deal with them!

  102. I am a nanny to twin 4 year olds and a 2 year old. The 4 year old boy loves to repeatedly ask the same question, and it was quite frustrating. I came across this post a few weeks ago and decided to try it with him. I have to say it has made quite the difference already, even with just me using it. He still has the tendency to ask more than once, but it simplifies my response and puts an end to it quicker generally. He does still occasionally ask what “asked and answered” means, even though I have explained it to him a few times, but I think he is starting to get it. I have been using it with the 2 year old as well, and it works really well with her most of the time. Thanks for the great tip!

  103. I tried this with my three year old. When I asked, “Did I answer it?” she said “No.” Of course, I had answered. Sooooo… I didn’t really know what to say next.

    • next time instead of asking a yes or no question, just tell her you answered it

      Can i have a cookie?

      No.

      Can i have a cookie, pleeeeease!

      Did you ask me a question?

      yes.

      And I answered it/ and i already answered it.

      I’m a preschool teacher and i always get myself in trouble by asking a yes or no question. “Do you need to go have a talk with (whoever seems to have more authority)?” “yes” when i wanted them to say no. always backfires. lol!

    • Thanks for sharing Anna!

    • I would just start repeating myself until they get bored. “I already answered and I said…. I already answered and I said….” and on and on. No one likes to argue with a robot that only repeats the same phrase- it will eventually even bore a 3 yr old. The first few times it takes awhile to get across that you don’t argue…after awhile they get it and don’t engage as much in arguing. If it is consistent. It can take a year though, but eventually your kids will grow up and respect the fact that you don’t waver.

    • Anna, that is not helpful.

      The main reason why kids ask again and again is because blanket ‘nos’ are meaningless.

      Stop saying no so much.

      And if you have to refuse something, give a reason.

      Example “Can I have a cookie?” is so much better met with the reply:

      “You can have a cookie after dinner. It’s almost dinner time now, so we’ll eat dinner and then have cookies.” Instead of just a blanket “no”.

      “Can I have a cookie?”

    • I actually found Anna’s comment very helpful. Changing it up to ensure they dont manage to trip you up.

  104. I am a nanny to almost 5 year old little girl, she is very disrespectful to everyone,especially to her parents, she gets a new toy almost every week cause she nags and nags until they get it for her. Example just today would not take her medicine she screams and yells and calls her parents very inappropriate words they only way they made her take her medicine cause they promised her if she would take her medicine they would get her a toy after work! Also still sleeps with mom and day and takes a pacifier. I really do want to help them out put don’t know how.

    • Cosleeping is not really something to worry about.

      The pacifier and nagging until she gets things is something to worry about.

      How close and friendly are you with the parents? If you are close, maybe suggestions on reading material or other methods on how to stop them from spoiling her and giving into her demands would help.

  105. This is CRAP!
    It’s not the words!!!
    It’s your actions. The children that continually nag again and again know they have a parent that gives in and gives them what they nag about. “Asked and answered” is the same as “No” when you mean it and don’t give in. Try saying asked and answered but not following through. I’m really tired of these so called “verbage” solutions to children’s behavior issues. YOUR ACTIONS, not your words are what children react to. Saying it nicely and doing what you say!!!

    • Exactly. This is a politically correct way to deal with toddlers. My mother used to say “no” if I asked again she would ask me “did I say no” Then she would say “alright then, the answere is no”. Same logic without some long complicated circular BS. Oarents need to realize they -not their children- have the right to SAY NO.

    • I agree, when my daughter would hit someone at the park we just went stright home no warnings ( even if I wanted to stay lol). She is a very gentle girl now :) but I do love these tips, some parents just don’t relize, sometimes because their parents didn’t do it or they don’t have other positive parents around them.

    • So true Myra! Thanks for commenting.

    • Yes, it’s the parent’s consistency that is key. But the words do matter. If you are a parent with a child that nags, then it means you have given in. Your child no longer believes “No” when you say it. “Ask and Answered” empowers the parent because it’s new to the child. And if the parent is consistent, it will work.

    • I agree completely, but this is just giving those tips to parents who may not already use that technique.

    • Jon, have you met a 3-year-old?!

      My daughter constantly nags. She wants a cookie. I tell her no. She asks again. I tell her I already told her no. She asks again. I tell her I already told her no and that continuing to ask me will not change my answer. And it doesn’t.

      Does that stop her from nagging me about everything constantly? No. Know why? She’s 3.

      Don’t ASSume that children only nag because a parent is inconsistent. It is developmentally appropriate for children to test boundaries.

    • This is a technique for the PARENTS. Not the kids. That’s why it’s not crap. You’re absolutely right that the parents actions speak the loudest. But parents are tired and get worn down, so they need tools they can stand behind. If parents have a way to communicate that is short, and definitive, it will be easier for them to stick to it and set a standard, so that the child will learn that nagging doesn’t work.

      It’s a tool. One I’ve used that worked surprisingly well is, “I have answered the question and I will not argue with you.” It was a statement for ME as much as it was for my child, who seemed to love to break me down with arguments. The amazing thing – it worked the first time.

  106. Say what you mean, and mean what you say. Say No. period. After one explanation. No means no. Parents really need to assert authority. The sooner it’s enforced, less chances of tantrums. If they do, just let them. Eventually they will learn it won’t work. But it starts when they are babies/toddlers. It’s so not rocket science. Kids need firm limits. They feel safer and more secure emotionally and physically when they know who is in charge.

    • Great point Chris.

    • It may seem like common sense to you, Chris, but there are a lot of young parents out there who grew up in homes where good parenting was not the norm and they are looking to these types of forums for advice on doing better as parents. I’m glad these resources are available to them.

  107. I agree with Jon; it’s the consistency and follow thru.

  108. I have been saying something similar… “No means no. Please don’t ask me again.” It works for the question at hand, but what do you do about a literal barrage of requests? For example, she asks to go swimming (I say no and don’t give in). She asks for a friend to come over (I say no and don’t give in.) She asks to play video games (I say no….) This is an everyday all day problem. I give lots of options for activities she can do (paint, dance, read, play dress up, etc.), and we do the activities she likes as much as possible (at least one activity out of the house every day and play dates at least once a week), but she isn’t easily satisfied. Literally while at the pool she was begging to go to she wants to know what we are doing next, and she has a hard time accepting “home to have lunch.” It’s exhausting!

    • Stick with this tool OO and she’ll catch on. ;-)

    • What about a list of appropriate daytime activities – written or pictorial, depending on her age? When she asks, “Can I —-?” just respond with, “Is it on the list?” or “Check the list.”

      As for a meltdown when it’s time to go home, I try to give my kids plenty of warning for transitions. If they get upset after that, that’s okay. We still go. The key for me is that I DO NOT TRY TO PLACATE. I don’t have to apologize for not having an activity for the day. I do not have to apologize when it’s time to go home. I don’t owe my kids entertainment. It sounds like your daughter has the expectation that you are responsible for entertaining her. As I have reminded my girls a couple times – The only thing I have to do as your mama is keep you alive. Everything else is just me being nice!

    • I love the list idea Sarah!

    • I personally think that the more organized activity (like your out of the house activities every day) the less your child will play on their own. I take my children to a story time once a week, but other than that, they play here at home. They are constantly using their imaginations to play because every day is not planned out with an activity. The more YOU plan the day, the more they will rely on you to entertain them and require an “outing” to cure their boredom!

    • My son was/is just like that too. He has never been good at entertaining himself since babyhood because he’s such a social creature he NEEDS to be around other people all the time. He really just hates being alone. He’s much better now that his baby sister is 2 and a good little playmate. Also he goes to preschool 3 days a week and is starting school the beginning of next year. I think when he has learnt to read he’ll be so much more able to find ways to entertain himself as he is so curious about how everything works!

  109. Don’t engage. Don’t say anything. Look them in the eye and do not say a word. Kinda like a stare down. This is non-verbal communication that is letting your child that you won’t engage into a discussion. When kids keep up a barrage of questions it’s learned behavior. They have learned that it works to what they want. All behavior is goal oriented whether it’s to get something or not do something. Works either way. I teach middle school. Everyone now and then I get a student who hasn’t learned to take no for an answer yet. They try the repeated questioning tactic. I just give them the look and a half smile. I don’t even nod my head. It takes a while, but they finally learn that when I say no the first time, they can’t get me to change my decision.If you can do this now, it helps when your kids become teens. It took a lot of battles with my oldest to learn not to engage. I would literally go to my bedroom and shut the door so I would not engage in to an argument with a moody teen. After a long time, he stop trying to argue back. Years later, he comments about what a knucklehead he was and thanks be for being tough on him.

    • Great advice as well Chris. Thanks for sharing!

    • Good trick for teens! My husband teaches middle/high school–and when kids start to grumble and don’t like an answer he gives them (i.e. yes you are required to attend this activity, no you may not turn this in late, no I will not change your grade etc)…then he says, “Hey!” with a big smile, “Ask me again.” Silly kid gets their hopes up, asks again, only to get the same answer. Then he says positively, “Hey, ask me again!” He will go through this little routine 2-3 or even 4 times with some kids until they get- asking again is futile. He is just sort of messing with them in a fun friendly way- while staying firm. Their asking again will change nothing. Now when his high schoolers hear “Ask me again!” They chuckle, roll their eyes, but realize it is his way of saying his answer holds.

  110. Children naturally reach an age/stage where they start to negotiate and/or nag. This is not just a learned behavior. If you’re so great at just saying no and being firm, why are you reading this? Take this for what it is, use it or don’t. Besides having my own children, I have worked in child care and I can see this as being useful in both situations. “ No” is just a response to the question. “Asked and answered” is a reminder of the child’s behavior and gives them accountability.

    • Thanks SC, great perspective!

  111. I’ve been saying “What did I say?” to my 3 1/2 year old… maybe this works better? We’ve never given in to nagging, tantruming, whining, yet he still does it, so I have to disagree with the ‘learned behavior’ analysis.

    • Sometimes it’s all in the way you word things that gets the child to respond. :-)

    • We ask our 3.5 year old “what did I say?” as well but not in the rhetorical way it gets used sometimes. We truly mean “what did I just say”. It helps solidify my answer to my son when he hears himself repeating what we said.

  112. My children are great about asking me questions while I’m on the phone I have explained that it is rude to me and the person I am talking to so the rule is if they have to have an answer right now the answer is no

  113. I’m not sure why this article got some people annoyed. If you are able to use skills outside of this article that work for you, great! However, do understand that the world has many different people with different abilities. If this article can help those that need something better than what they have been doing, great!

  114. I do like Ask and answer. I will try this with my daughter. She is well behaved. However, I’m strict. a simple stare down and pretty much everything Chris mentioned has worked beautifully. Is nagging normal? she seems to have started the summer after kindergarten. I tell her this is begging, and that is not ok. Mommy said no. She has started to call me mean. Lol I’m a very nice person, but the mommy thing can get complicated. My daughter is very methodical and sensible, but still she is 6. I believe a dry erase board on the fridge may work. Write her question, and the next time she asks point to it and say “Is it this question you are asking me again?” Asked and Answered. Who knows? maybe I will no longer be percieved as being mean

    • Nice idea Regina and YES that is ABSOLUTELY normal. :-)

    • When I told my mom she was mean, I remember her coming back with some variant of “That’s how I know I’m doing my job right.” It’s deeply ingrained in my psyche that “mean,” consistent, in-control parents are the best ones!

      We’ll see how that plays out with my daughter. She’s 6 months old now. :)

    • A lot of parenting is just trial and error to see what works for each child. :-)

    • But it shouldn’t be. A lot of parenting should be respectful, caring, communicative, things you do not seem to be encouraging at all Amy. This is one of the most destructive articles for parents I’ve come across in a long while and I truly hope you reconsider your sarcastic behaviors towards children and instead treat them as human beings to be shared with, taught, confided in, brought into society to be loved and love. This article is horrendous and I have rarely read or commented on anything online in a long while. After 25 years in Early Education, this is what parents and teachers should be fighting against.

    • While I don’t disagree entirely with ‘some’ of your comments Larienne, I really don’t like your aggressive tone which is somewhat hypocritical of the arguments you raise. I am also curious to know, do you have young children of your own?

  115. I teach children the skill of “how to accept a no answer.” We rehearse in the imagination and rehearse in real life and rehearse before they go to the store or out. I say let’s pretend you want a piece of candy. I will tell you no. When I say no, you look at me, (I point two finger to my eyes,) say OK, ( I point to my mouth) and stay calm (I cross my arms across my chest). We rehearse it over and over. I give them a sticker when they practice. When they use it in real life, I announce, “wow, we have a chance tp practice our skill, are you ready?” Trust me, they aren’t happy, but they know exactly the expectation. When they do it in a real life situation and do it well I “may” reward them with 2 stickers. Skill, look at me, say ok, stay calm. LSCSW

  116. I agree with this “Asked and Answered” way of teaching. Positive reinforcement is the only way to connect with a child or children. I love..using a positive reinforcement to help teach a child because it gives them instant satisfaction, for the most part. I had an in home licensed daycare, for 9.5 years and used this sort of method with all my children, including my daughter. Children need to know that you are listening, and respect their words and feeling, regardless of our busy schedules. Boundaries, are what children need, structure and positive reinforcement are the keys to raising children. You have to talk with them, not at them it’s such a positive approach to helping each child feel whole, and that you care. I love children, plain and simple, and I will continue to use this approach to help guide them for a brighter future, because these simple steps will empower them to become better, brighter, loving and more caring individuals. Someday, they too will be adults so using positive reinforcement will guide them to be more understanding parents themselves one day.

    • Thank you for the fabulous perspective Teresa!

  117. I think this could be a useful tool, but I do dislike how so many parenting sites tout consistency as such the golden ideal. It’s just unrealistic, & not the real world at all. (Except maybe compared to absolute chaos, which I am fortunate that none of my kids came wired with) negotiating skills are useful and real, and sometimes my kids do bring up a good point I hadn’t considered- crazy, I’m not perfect and am ok with letting my kids in on that. I think them seeing me staying flexible helps them to be flexible too. Keep in mind I have kids of many ages, this comment wouldn’t apply to toddlers usually :)

    • I totally agree with you on the negotiating being a skill to be fostered (see my comment below ) though will contend that consistency IS key in this and any other point/behaviour/belief you want your child to really learn and internalise – from it is never ok to hang out of the window of the car while it is driving along, to I will always love you, even if I get mad at the things you do sometimes. As for reality I hope and believe that reality is that no-one who says ‘consistency’ means or pretends to have achieved it 100% of the time in things like these, hey we all occasionally have cereal for dinner, but I think the key is to aim for as close to it as you can achieve, and all we can do challenge ourselves to achieve a bit more than what comes easily or than yesterday.
      It is of course all very subjective, as is everything when it comes to parenting! But just saying, firm and consistent boundaries, predictable and logical consequences for actions, and unconditional love are the three things that countless studies, research, biogenetic, anthropological, psychological and behavioural sciences, and just plain testimonies from so many parents from around the globe all agree are the fundamental building blocks to raise the most safe and secure, nurtured, capable and well behaved kids possible.
      Btw I love what you said about flexibility and not pretending to your kids that you are perfect (or right all the time as I also let them know)! So great. I love to let mine in on that secret too, and then they tend to forgive me more easily and even help me out more when I apologise for being cranky because I am tired or whatever!

  118. I love this idea! I will definitely have to start instilling this in my son’s head now. He can’t speak more than one word at a time, but the sooner the better! And I agree, consistency is key.

  119. This is so sad. I can’t believe thinking ignoring a child would be the right way to discipline or teach them not to “nag.” I doubt you wouldn’t treat an adult like this, so what makes it right to treat a child like they don’t exist. This is all about the parent having control, forget about what the child might be thinking, feeling, or sub-consciously picking up and remembering from this sort of “training.” Children are the purest form of feelings, and to treat them like they don’t matter, that they aren’t important to a parent, is only going to solidify feelings of being alone, that they don’t matter, even if their growing minds can’t fully grasp why they are hurt that mom or dad ignored them, that can have a lot of implications later on in life.

    • The childs’ behavior is being ignored, not the child. Inappropriate behavior should not be “rewarded ” in any way, with either a positive or negative response. If the behavior is ignored, the child will soon learn that it is not an effective way of getting what they want.

  120. I’ve nannied for the same family for 7 years. Prior to that I was a preschool teacher
    I have said a similar thing to the article and I must say it really works, but I do believe like
    others have said, its the intent and follow thru. If I get asked a question twice I say
    “what was my answer the first time?” The child then repeats my previous answer. I then
    say “You can try to keep asking me, but I guarantee you the answer is going to stay the same.” I normally get an exasperated sound, but I don’t get nagged because they have learned I mean what I say and stick to it.

  121. What if I’m the one nagging my 10 year old because she takes such a long time to get dressed in the morning? It’s been like this for three years now. It takes what seems like forever for her to get motivated unless she has something exciting going on in school that day. I’ve tried going to bed earlier, waking up earlier, having her clothes layed out the night before and lunch made the night before, a planned breakfast… But nothing seems to work and I’m the one left nagging her all the time to hurry up! I have to be at work for 9:00 and neither one of can be late but it happens all too often. I need suggestions as I’m at my wits ends!…

    • Set a time limit (on a clock or timer) and explain that you are leaving the house at that specified time, no matter what stage your child is at in getting ready. If your child hasn’t packed her homework, then there’ll be a natural consequence at school. If she goes to school without having eaten her breakfast, she’ll be hungry and make a better effort to fit breakfast in tomorrow. There are no serious consequences for the child when arriving to school late, but there are consequences for you being late to work. Unfortunately, those consequences don’t trickle down to your child, so the behavior continues. I guarantee–ONE day of your child going to school in pajamas because she didn’t allow herself enough time to get dressed and she’ll start getting up at a better time. If she finds going to school in her jammies is fun? Great! You’re still getting to school/work on time. (And I promise that less-than-attractive wardrobe trend won’t last long.) Setting consistent rules will allow your child to experience natural consequences and be internally motivated to make changes when those consequences are unpleasant. Continue to reinforce that she chose to (sleep in, take an hour in the shower, read a book, rather than eating, etc.) and knowing exactly what the consequences would be, she chose that end result. You did your part in getting her up, having her clothes clean and at-the-ready in her room, and in serving her breakfast. The rest is completely in her control. Knowing that she’s in charge may eliminate any battles for control, as well.

  122. When our teens were young, we helped them understand what “no” meant:
    NO means “no whining, no crying, and no asking again”.
    Then, when they’d come back to try and get us to change our minds, we’d ask them: “What does NO mean?” and they’d respond with the answer… and then walk away (even the strong-willed one).

    It is one of the best things we’ve ever taught our children.

    Now that they’re reaching maturity, they take the time to carefully craft a logical, reasoned plan for getting us to agree. If their logic is sound, and they’ve taken all the variables into account with which we as parents are concerned, they’re much more likely to get a “yes” than a “no”. If they DO get “no” for an answer, there’s a 50/50 chance that we’ll explain why we said no by giving them additional information that they hadn’t considered.

    Now my daughters can THINK, and think well… I’m very proud of them. Hang in there, parents… you can do this!

  123. In theory I agree with all of the above. However, parenting is a complicated affair. Before becoming a parent everything was very easy and it was so easy to judge or have opinions on how my friends should bring up their children. However, reality is different. A child can at times be very demanding and when you have several kids of a young age, you are tired, worn out and quite frankly out of your mind at certain points in the day. A young child is as all parents know very persistent. I have tried all of the above with my kids, without ever giving in, once I have said “no”. They still nag and whine. I even get questions repeated for the ones I have said “yes” to. It is very exhausting. I hope they will grow out of it, but at the age of 8, 6 and 4, I still do not see any signs of it. Sigh from a parent that tries to be consistent, but who does fail at certain times.

  124. I love this! It’s so simple it’s elegant. The only thing I might add is to smile when you say to your kid. You mean what you say and you still love him.

  125. I like this article and so many of the comments, including those by Ed and Melody, and think Asked and Answered is a great tool that can engage children’s higher cognitive thinking and break you both out of an automated ‘can I?’ ‘no’ ‘can I?’ ‘no’ battle to see who can last the longest.
    I am a Primary (Elementary) teacher as well as having fostered and raised several children both short and very long term. I think that for a child/teen who has established nagging behaviour patterns, and/or for younger children like toddlers this is a great tool that also goes a little way to show the child that you are not just saying no automatically to avoid an interruption to what you are doing or to get them out of your hair etc. but that you have really heard and are engaging with them, but the answer remains the same.

    However I do have one issue with the clumping together of the terms negotiating & nagging and blanketing them both as bad. I agree with Mom of Many on this point (though I will contend that consistency is key when teaching/raising children, see my above reply if interested).
    Aside from youngins (say, under a developmental age of 5 or 6) and children who are nagging and who need to unlearn this behaviour before introducing it, negotiation is a very important skill for children and young people to learn!
    Unless we want regimented, dangerously obedient, uncreative future young adults who cannot think for themselves or stand up for themselves in a way that is non-aggressive, responsible and effective, they are going to have to learn to value and develop the skill of negotiating with others at some point, and what better time or place than at home and in your hands?

    The skill of negotiation teaches children how to try to get what they want in a way that is not aggressive, not being rude/mean to another by nagging, and in a way that is responsible and respectful, creative and intelligent, is more effective and which encourages the use of their brainpower by eliciting deeper thinking.
    Learning to be a good negotiator is not only very empowering, grows self-esteem through self-efficacy, and develops empathy by having to hear, consider and respond to the other person’s point of view, wants, concerns, and goals, but it also teaches critical thinking, creativity, problem-solving skills, self-awareness, higher-order (more complex) thinking, being able to generate or accept a compromise, and cope with disappointment and not always ‘winning’ or getting their own way.
    It is also a great opportunity to teach your kids how to think ahead about possible problems and/or the consequences of what they are asking, and to just plain teach them about new things. For example “I don’t want you digging a hole in the front yard because the mess will upset Mrs B next door/Dad will have to pay for more lawn and work on his day off to fix it/the pipes that supply our house with running water and electricity could be under there and you could break them and get electrocuted/we would have no water or power to cook your dinner or to watch Peppa Pig on the tv…” etc.

    By telling them WHY you don’t want them to do or have something it not only gives them the opportunity to understand your concerns or the dangers, it also allows them to adjust and think of compromises/ways around the problem – e.g. going to a friend’s for dinner and a sleep over during the week may be unfair on their Mum who may be too tired – “Can I call and ask her if it is a good time?” You won’t have your cleaned uniform and lunch with you for school in the morning – “What if I ask his Mum if our house is on the way and if we can pick them up on the way to school in the morning?” It is a school night and I don’t want you tired and cranky at school tomorrow – “What if I go over straight after school and come home after dinner instead?”

    Of course at other times the answer is not negotiable (or we are just plain too tired to explain our reasons or negotiate), and it is important and very simple to say so. “The answer is no and it is not negotiable.”
    Because we want the best for our kids and are, in the end, trying to raise capable dynamic future adults, not effortless, quiet, un-annoying children who don’t interrupt what we are doing. ;-) That is my little opinion/rant/essay anyway, and I hope you get me and will forgive the length of it!

    • Thank you for this post. You brought to light many of my concerns regarding the critical importance of fostering negotiation and open communication in our youngest citizens. I agree that this a great tool for combatting nagging with the caveat that one must be careful in its application lest important communication and opportunity for negotiation is stifled. I would add that even children under the age of six can benefit from negotiation and communication coaching.

  126. When my son was little I used to tell him the only way he would get a different answer was if he asked a different question.

  127. We use “No always means no, and a yes can turn into a no”

  128. I am raising my 3 year old (soon to be 4) granddaughter. She is great, really. I couldn’t ask for a more intelligent, loving and caring little girl. However, she is very defiant, w/o being defiant. I mean she listens, says she understands, the as soon as you turn your back, or a few minutes have passed she does whatever the behavior is again. I will couch this with I am chronically ill, and can’t get her out of the house as much as I would like, or as she needs. I am working on the headstart program, but haven’t gotten her approved yet (lot’s of issues, we are not legal guardians, her mom lives in another city and receives CCAP for the younger daughter, household income is just above the line to get her qualified but not high enough to afford it w/o help). I do have a very set schedule, we get up the same time everyday, we cuddle, she eats, then she plays with her toys, then she does a structured activity such as drawing, or writing. She eats lunch, then naps, gets up and we cuddle again and she watches a movie or show. We then read a book or two and do flash cards (she’s been amazing, learning so fast). I almost think her being so smart is part of the problem. She is manipulative in that she can find 50 back doors to come in. If your attention strays long enough to go to the restroom, do a load of dishes, etc. forget it, she’s doing something she KNOWS she’s not supposed to. This is constant all day long. I sometimes think severe ADHD, but I won’t put her on any meds for this at her age. When you have her repeat something or ask her what she is supposed to, or not supposed to do she answers with mumbles and/or brief words. EG: She grabs the dogs ball and plays catch. When the dog is done she stops playing. We’ve told GD this over and over. Even after I say “no more, put the ball down and leave the dog alone” she will say “okay”, then get up and walk to where the dog is and immediately start doing it again. We do time outs all the time, we don’t begin the timer until she is sitting properly and behaving. Then after she has to tell us what she was on time out for. But it’s like pulling teeth out of tiger to get her to use her words and tell us this. Not because she can’t, again, she’s really smart. Uses words and phrases you would never think a 3 year old would know, much less know how to use in context. I am a bit overwhelmed at this point. I take her to visit with someone and she is wonderful, polite and always listens. At home everything I’ve described, worse when more than one of us is home together with her. As if she’s not happy if she doesn’t have %100 of the attention. However, she gets 95% of the attention even when both of us are home. Advice? Thanks~Sheila

    • There are several things to address in the very few details you gave us, and I hope you were able to get together with a Head Start social support advocate and enroll your child in an early education program, with the few issues on your hands to deal with that you mentioned. You need to begin to look at what the behaviors your granddaughter is doing that are actually a problem. If she wants to do something you don’t agree with, consider alternatives… can she do that same thing in some way that’s okay? Your set schedule, is it posted with fun pictures of things she loves during that time of day? Did you make it together, does she have anything she has control of in her day? Can you increase those things, even if it seems arbitrary? You can offer choices where maybe it doesnt’ seem there are choices…. does she want her glass of milk on the right of the plate or the left? If she has changed her home environment, from being with mom and all that meant, to being with grandparents, can’t you let her have some things she chooses? You sound regimented and stuck in some proper ways, when you talk about flash cards and telling her things over and over and then referring to her mumbling back. Usually mumbling at 3 years old means she has been ordered around and already knows she is being stifled. Does she have access to art supplies, free time to play “house” whether with dolls, or dishes, to work through whatever issues led to you raising her. Stop acting like you are the only one that had to change your life and realize she had to also. Requiring her to sit properly for time-outs at 3 years old with all the things that you just relayed in some dry, hardass fashion without regard to the limitations a 3 year old has to be as manipulative and conniving as you imply throughout your post, leads me to wonder if your grandchild is equally frustrated with her limitations on living options and would prefer less than your 95% attention. At the very least, in current child psychology, easy behaviorism, stop putting your attention to behaviors you want to see less of. Remove any clear provocations and/or rewards for it. Then your rat will eat when you hit the bell. It will work, but loving your grandchild and talking to her about shit that’s happening in your family will go a lot further.

  129. Hi Amy,
    How may I convince my son to sleep in his room, and mom shares a room with dad?
    I have a 3 year old boy, soon to be 4. He was sleeping in his bed and his room once he was 1-2 and later during some periods some family issues were up and I had no other choice than sleeping in his room. Now, he wants me to sleep in his room again, and again!
    How may I convince him that I need to share a room with daddy.
    Once my husband told him that he is still a baby that he asks mom to sleep in his room, and he replied that “you are a baby that mom sleeps beside you!”.
    It is out of my parenting approach to tell him “this is the rule and you need to obey it without any logic”!!! Cause I do not want him to grow up to believe in something for no reason! On the other hand, my husband feels jealous in this situation!
    My son is not scared of monsters that I can solve it or any other thing!
    He says, I think you do not like me once you sleep in the other room, and no matter how much I love him and gives him attention, he cannot accept the situation. Thanks, Janne

    • You worded your explanation for why your son became comfortable with you sleeping in his room, in very vague terms saying you had no other choice than to sleep in his room.
      This is the issue.
      You do not have to “convince” him of why you are in an adult relationship with his father. Perhaps you need to convince yourself.
      Your husband needs to get over why he’s jealous of his son instead of facing why his wife was sleeping in their child’s bedroom and felt she had no other choice.
      That’s another major issue. Like move out of the house possibly issue if this husband is that seriously insecure.
      You do not have a parenting approach though you refer to one. There is logic behind your child being able to go to sleep on his own, while you live your normal healthy adult relationship going to bed with your husband. If you really used three !!! to emphasize you actually have a parenting approach, then you don’t have one.
      1. You love your son, play with him, talk to him, share with him, put him to bed.
      2. Explain to him his role in the family, what your relationship is as parent-child, and why it is important that he grow up while in your care so he can care for himself.
      3. Develop an adult relationship with your husband where your marriage is important so he doesn’t feel jealous of a child, understands when you need to spend time raising your child to be an adult person, and actually supports that and contributes to raising an individual who understands that he doesn’t get to dictate other adults behaviors as a child!
      4. Stand up for yourself. Say to your family members that you are sleeping on the couch and they can all go make themselves some hot milk or whatever and let you get some sleep instead of doing unhealthy behaviors to get your attention at a time you should be sleeping.
      5. Go to freaking sleep.
      That is another issue.

  130. How about you people ask yourself WHY you are saying no?

    How about you actually think how you would feel if every simple request was met with a NO.

    How would you feel if you couldn’t go swimming or to the park or see your friend or even get a snack, because someone else just decided ‘no’.

    Pre schoolers have a poor grasp of time as it is, so asking again 5 minutes later to them may be a perfectly reasonable amount of time for you to have changed your mind.
    Plus, when all you are saying is ‘No’, there is no logical reason (in their mind) as to why they are being denied something. Especially when (at least to them) it’s a perfectly reasonable request.

    Instead, think why you aare saying no. Ask yourself if you could say yes.

    If you can’t, young children respond much better to reason.

    “We can’t go swimming right now, but we’ll go swimming later this week/next week” etc.

    Or “I’m not buying you that right now because I just bought you [such and such] last week.”

    Or “No you can’t have candy right now because we’re about to eat lunch. After lunch we can have some candy.”

    And so on.
    http://www.askdrsears.com/topics/parenting/discipline-behavior/18-ways-say-no-positively

    • You still have the negative response up front. Better perhaps to say;
      “Yes! we’ll go swimming later this week/next week”
      “Sure! After lunch we can have some candy.”

  131. http://www.webmd.com/parenting/features/say-no-without-saying-no

    The above article is way better IMO.

    It treats children with the respect and decency that we would treat a friend or another adult with, and that we would want to be treated with.

    Validate your reasons. Blanket ‘No’s become meaningless and frustrating very quickly. Kids respond better to clear and concise answers and reasoning.

    • Thank you for your post.

    • Cause teaching children that life will always say yes and negotiate with you is honest and real. I’m sorry. You’ve assumed the author of Ask and Answered ALWAYS says NO to every request. That is not what she said. And yes, it is vitally important that children learn some requests in life are denied summarily. I say NO to my friends and peers all the time. I want my children to be able to have fun moments of mommy saying, “YES!” and to be able to handle the disappointment of mommy saying, “no.” Mainly because, Yes and flat out no are real parts of life. Yes to everything makes a child believe the lie that his life will be filled with Yes at every turn. That just isn’t true.

  132. I stumbled on this response years ago after watching a legal drama on TV! I love it. It’s simple and effective. Yay!

  133. I have three words that work for me: I said no.

    • That is the most idiotic answer of all of them. What happens in the real world when your child asks someone else?! You aren’t there!!! So no “I”.
      What happens when you aren’t there to actually “say” it?! Your child does it because you didn’t. And guess what?! You actually can’t be there to say it all the time, but the rest of us have to deal with the mess you created when you raised a child only saying “I said no”.
      What if your “no”, sometimes means “yes” or “maybe” or “okay if you convince me with xyz argument or abc violence”?! Hmmm yes, you Sara are a huge part of the entire human problem of people raised because someone thought all they had to say was “I said no.”
      Yet again normal human beings will be suffering around the adults raised by this idiotic, non-commital, irrational attempt at forced control who call it reasoning.
      You, Sara, are an idiot, who maybe followed other idiots because they said so, but no, I dont’ want to interact with any child of yours…. ever.

  134. It only takes one smack on the but and they learn respect for no means no sure your method works also if the child is in a state of mind to actually talk to you establish ground rules at an early age before you get to the out of controll situation where they are throwing tantrums in public. Diagnosed with some behaviour disorder is just bullshit made up to sell you therapy and drugs. My daughter only got a one smack on the bum her whole life I even apologized after I felt bad but you know what never again did she play up Just sayin my point of view

    • I would like to smack you on the butt and see if it changes your opinion about using violent control tactics on young children who need to be taught how to deal with difficult, complex, negative emotions in circumstances far more crazy than anyone could ever just spank someone to get out of.
      Again, a moronic answer that causes more violent control attempts on family members who should simply be taught how to behave.

  135. Sam, I loved your reply above… I copied it here and replied below…
    “The main reason why kids ask again and again is because blanket ‘nos’ are meaningless.
    Stop saying no so much.
    And if you have to refuse something, give a reason.
    Example “Can I have a cookie?” is so much better met with the reply:
    “You can have a cookie after dinner. It’s almost dinner time now, so we’ll eat dinner and then have cookies.” Instead of just a blanket no”.
    ——- begin my reply—–
    I’ll also add that in our home we look for ways to say “yes” and/or set our now, 3 & 7 year old, up for success. Empowered adults start out as empowered children, in our humble opinion. For example… Things they like to eat a lot of at once… cookies, yogurt, certain fruits, candy, juice boxes… They each have their own goody bin. The 7 year old gets hers filled once a week. The 3 year old gets his filled in the morning and afternoon. They both manage their own needs and wants. When their bin is empty it’s empty until the next filling period. We empathize with them when it’s empty and take the opportunity to talk about possibly saving some for later… or not. It’s up to them and what they want their experience to be. They are in control of their experiences. Basically, we focus on what they can do. They can treat others with respect. They can keep their hands to themselves. They can walk around the edge of the pool. We are also sure to “catch” them doing those things that we appreciate and share our gratitude for it. Whenever they or my husband cooperate with me… I thank them. When they or my husband share… I thank them. When they or my husband are considerate or keep their agreements… I thank them. They all do the same with me and each other. My youngest was raised with my oldest thanking him for sharing a toy from the moment that his actions moderately resembled the act of sharing. Our family values cooperation and respect for each other. We, unequivocally, treat each other as we want to be treated.

    Another example of setting us all up for success is… Prior to going to the store or anywhere that I need specific cooperation, I will ask them for an agreement. Yes, even my then 21/2 year old understood agreements. “Do you agree to sit in the cart the entire time we are in the grocery store?” If yes… “Excellent, I would love to have your company”. If no… “Ok, I understand. I will go to the store later or I’m sure you and daddy will have a good time while I’m gone”. If we ended up going, then I was sure to thank him several times throughout the trip for staying in the cart, as well as share my gratitude for anything else that he did or didn’t do that I appreciated. It’s all an authentic exchange of appreciation and respect. They also make agreements with us. My 3 year old will ask, “Mommy do you agree to push me on the swing?” I’ll reply with what I can agree to while keeping in mind his swing patters. “Yes, I’ll be happy to agree to 5 underdogs with 3 breaks in between”. When my daughter wants a sleepover, we’ll say yes as long as we can agree to pick her up at any hour of the night, because we have a standing agreement that she can leave a sleepover for any reason or no reason and without question. Basically, if we can not agree to pick her up with a smile then the sleepover can be scheduled for a day that we can. Agreements are mutually beneficial and take both parties into consideration.

    Empowerment in place of authority has lead us to great success! :D

    • That’s fantastic!

    • Fantastic response! I would gladly interact with your family any day Jolinda! :)

  136. After having read most of the comments, I have a question. What if the child is so smart he/she starts using the same technique to your own requests. -We need to go to the dentist. -No. -Your teeth need checking(whatever the reason). -Have you not told me already we have to go? And what did I answer? I said no. Asked and answered, mommy.
    What do you do? Say only mum can decide what’s good for you or only mom can say no or what? That’s wrong. What do you guys think?

    • A brilliant perspective shift and an excellent way to determine if I’m treating my child as I want to be treated. :) <3

    • If you have an authentic reason for something, a true, honest, real reason for doing something, then you clearly state it. You are taking her to the dentist to get her teeth cleaned by a pro, so she doesn’t get cavities, so she doesn’t lose her teeth, so she can still eat, and get nutrition to stay ALIVE! Did you lose track of why you are a parent in this discussion of how to present unsavory ideas to children? YOU ARE THE PARENT KATE! This is a ridiculous article suggesting you limit your explanations for why you are controlling your child. You are being a parent, that is reason enough to care for your child, make intelligent decisions, and explain them to her.

    • That was just a possible scenario=) My boy’s only 1 year old, hope he will respect my decisions and I’ll manage to stay as kind and soft as I am without losing my authority.
      And true, Jolinda, it’s so much about treating the other the way you want to be treated.

    • When people state things like it’s important to be treating your child the way you want to be treated, it really makes me wonder if people need such a simplified rule as that. Don’t treat your child as you want to be treated if you are a grown woman, married to your child’s father, with a house to take care of, children to raise, and a life to live. Treat your child as your child… meaning, as a naive young human who needs you to care for them and teach them to become an older human who can care for themselves and others. Those are two different treatments… one for a grown woman with a lot of other responsibilies, the other for a child with a life to learn to care for and others to learn to care for. Why do people mistake these two roles? Treat your child as your child, and do not do as this article suggests and simply sarcastically tell them your authority is right no matter what. Explain the reasons you are raising your child the way you are…. have reasons. And if your reason is like Amy’s, to simply get them to shut up and stop asking you questions they dont’ understand the answer to… then stop having children that need to be raised.

  137. After having read most of the comments, I have a question. What if the child is so smart he/she starts using the same technique to your own requests. -We need to go to the dentist. -No. -Your teeth need checking(whatever the reason). -Have you not told me already we have to go? And what did I answer? I said no. Asked and answered, mommy.
    What do you do? Say only mum can decide what’s good for you or only mom can say no or what? That’s wrong. What do you guys think?

    • If you have an authentic reason for something, a true, honest, real reason for doing something, then you clearly state it. You are taking her to the dentist to get her teeth cleaned by a pro, so she doesn’t get cavities, so she doesn’t lose her teeth, so she can still eat, and get nutrition to stay ALIVE! Did you lose track of why you are a parent in this discussion of how to present unsavory ideas to children? YOU ARE THE PARENT KATE! This is a ridiculous article suggesting you limit your explanations for why you are controlling your child. You are being a parent, that is reason enough to care for your child, make intelligent decisions, and explain them to her.

  138. I tell my kid’s ‘end of discussion’. They and their friends stop nagging immediately. Sometimes I just say EOD since they abbreviate everything these days lol

    • I wonder if they’ll say EOD when you die and smile as they walk away from such a cold, uninterested, unresponsive shell of a human being and hope that they go live a life rich with communicative relationships where they share the reasons they do the things they do. I hope humans like you Nanaboo, stop preventing other humans from having curiosity and inquire into why things are the way they are. “End of discussion” is probably the last words any human should say to another… you may as well die at that point. Why would anyone remain communicating with you?

  139. You have to stand your ground no matter what the answer is. Example the next time you do that … I will put it away for a day. My kids know if I say it I mean it and for the most part they accept the answer. Start from when they are young they need to learn they can’t have everything, but you do have to say yes sometimes.

  140. I’ve taught my 10 yo daughter that there is a better chance of me rethinking about a “no” answer if she just accepts “no” the first time. The more whining, crying, and asking again I get, the more I’m going to stick with my answer. Whining means an automatic “no.”

    • How about flipping that on end and rethinking the “no” to begin with? How about saying “yes” then assigning an appropriate timeframe or contingency? How about not generating feelings of power over your child just because you technically can say “no” and instead feel creative and realize you can say “yes” so many different ways?
      Controlling asshole behavior means an automatic “no” to me too… just “no” you are not a caring human being Kirsten.

  141. I disagree with several commenters. It does not take a parent “giving in” for a child to start the nagging or negotiating. Child are very self-involved–their world revolves around themselves because that’s how their brains function. It’s therefore easy to become fixated on an object, etc. that they want. They don’t just nag you because you’ve given in in the past but because they can’t stop thinking about it and don’t fully understand why you said no. Personally I think “asked and answered” is a bit of a tongue-twister, especially for me as emotions get more aggravated, but simplicity and clarity is key. I typically say, “I have already answered this question.” And walk away. Tantrums, nagging, negotiating…all typically need an audience and they don’t work if no one’s there to witness/or fight back.

    • Confusion, continual limit-testing, and questioning……. all typically need a non-existent, not present, lack of response and they don’t work if no one’s there to actually answer/or raise that child.

  142. God forbid anyone bother to actually reason with a child the same way you would an adult. If a friend asks you for a favor, do you just tell them “No” and leave it at that, or do you give them a sound and unarguable reason for not doing it? If my brother and I got “no” answers without a moment’s thought and explanation of why, then we just stopped asking and did whatever we wanted. Do you really want to program your children to accept whatever “authority figures” tell them, blindly? Or, would you rather raise children to think for themselves based on reasoning?

    • Thank you for your post… so painfully true and obvious I wish it didn’t need to be said.

  143. I have to say I’m fairly shocked at some of the first comments I read in response to the article. First of all, after 25+ years in Early Childhood Education, I am surprised no one mentioned simply answering the supposedly “nagging” question. The majority of questions children ask, can actually be answered honestly and caringly, with appropriate timelines and requirements included. For example, the question of “are we there yet” can be used to generate a whole box of answers, games, creative ways to teach observation, map skills, etc. When did children become something we need to “correct”, and “control” as implied by the suggested solutions to normal children’s inquiry, creativity, curiosity?
    It’s ridiculous to continue as a society to think we need to entertain, amuse, and brush off children… stop finding solutions to not answering, and freaking answer their damn questions.
    “Can I have a cookie?”
    “Sure you can! Let’s finish this project, make some dinner, then bake some and share them with so-and-so on such and such date.” How freaking hard is that for people involved with children to finally understand?! Delayed gratification, answers to questions, oh wow… *gasp* actual normal socialization might occur? Anyone who commented about using violence to both control a child’s behavior and somehow model appropriate human interaction, should at this point in society, step back and realize how much your violent aggressive behaviors have contributed to our violent human species and back the hell off at this point. NO. Spanking never solved anything…. everyone else just had to deal with your child for the rest of their aggressive, violence-solves-things when you have the upper hand, type of strategy for their life.

    • Not anonymous at all… frustrated that so many people think they can write articles about children, when the suggestions they have perpetuate the actual problems that families, parents, and the rest of the entire human species are then stuck with. Stop recommending strategies that don’t work in articles meant to drive advertising for products aimed at relieving individuals from actually responding to children.

  144. Amy? If you asked a question of intelligent human beings, would you like someone to jot down a stick figure drawing and with raised eyebrows sarcastically point to the answer? No? Well, I do not want to live in a world where a group of parents takes your advice and begins to sarcastically mock their children without actually answering normal creative curiosity. Your sarcasm and deliberate refusal to explain things that occasionally require a few hundred explanations, limits parents and caregivers options when responding to normal children’s inquiries. Your suggestions would lead to a world of children shut up by busy parents who don’t bother to actually educate their children… how much money are you making off these ridiculously horrible ideas?

  145. Your “old fashioned spankings” reflect the limited mind of an aggressive, physically-violent, control freak who never realized your modeling transferred to a child who took the upper hand when they were in power to control other things in life. Look at your children now… who, what, and where are they working through their violent, physical control issues? Who is now suffering because you, as a parent couldn’t explain right and wrong, ethics, principles to your child? Your offspring is now a violent, physically-controlling to themselves or others human being that the rest of us have to deal with. Screw you and your inability to actually reasonably parent or even see clearly that your ruler for checking if they are “well behaved” is absolute bullshit. No one should ever believe your crap about spankings if they have access to any actual information that show it results in shitty relationships between parent and child, and aggressive, physically-controlling behaviors in those poor kids for the rest of their freaking life.

  146. And finally, I just have to ask…. why can’t seven year old Daniel dig a hole actually??? You present this horrible, horrendous dilemma for the modern family to answer…. I never got why he couldnt’ dig the hole. A very appropriate, healthy activity for any 7 year old boy to do. You go on to present these solutions to said gigantic problem:
    Instead of repeating yourself or jumping in to a lecture, avoid child nagging by getting eye to eye and follow the process below:

    Step One: Ask, “Have you ever heard of ‘Asked and Answered’?” (He’ll probably say no.)
    He’ll probably say “no” because it is a random, rudely-named strategy that of course he’s never heard of because he is a child Amy, so to sarcastically point out that you don’t want to bother answering something again, though you agreed to become a parent and “raise a child”, while rhetorically asking about whether he’s familiar with your ridiculous named strat, is truly the equivalent of rolling your eyes at a baby…………..

    Step Two: Ask, “Did you ask me a question about digging a hole?” (He’ll say yes.)
    This again is sarcastic and you both know the answer to the question, that’s why you, Amy are so certain he’ll say “yes”. This is because the poor boy trusts you. Now you have rhetorically, sarcastically shamed him in answering something you both know supposedly. Why are you asking this part? What more than shame and humiliation are you trying to add here? When your communication with a child enters this realm, walk away… fast.

    Step Three: Ask, “Did I answer it?” (He’ll probably say, “Yes, but, I really ….”)
    Oh no, heaven forbid he thinks he has a valid case here. Like a 7 year old digging a hole was so normal in his mind for options, he’s still trying to wrap his young developing mind around the fact that you shut down his idea, mocked him for it, rolled your eyes, and blew him off… yeah he might seem discouraged Amy. You’re right, he maybe try to use a word like “really” to explain why he’d like to continue with behavior that has no intrinsic failings and no logical reason for refusing.

    Step Four: Ask, “Do I look like the kind of mom/dad/teacher who will change her/his mind if you ask me the same thing over and over?” (Chances are Daniel will walk away, maybe with a frustrated grunt, and engage in something else.)
    Again, using adult sarcasm to make some point about refusing something that’s not problematic and even if it was, you don’t care enough to explain why it’s not going to work?
    This is the step I’m not sure caring, loving parents can just simply take. Amy, are you seriously suggesting for people to blow their child off, ask sarcastic, rhetorical questions sneeringly, then turn back to whatever was more important than providing a way to dig that hole or answer that question? Your use of the word “grunt” truly clarifies the level of value you have for parent-child communication, so perhaps you needn’t actually answer.

    Step Five: If Daniel asks again, simply say, “Asked and Answered.” (No other words are necessary!) Once this technique has been established, these are the only words you should need to say to address nagging questions.
    Nagging questions like….. why didn’t you ever love me enough to talk to me? why didn’t you teach me to communicate? why were you so sarcastic? why did you care more about what you spent your time doing instead of asking my questions or solving my creative inquiries? why didn’t you recognize that I’m a human being and have the capacity to understand your social reasons for making rules to guide my behaviors? why didnt’ you care enough to raise me lovingly and instead read some bullshit article that allowed you to be a total unconnected ass to me?

    • You’re clearly in emotional pain. It’s just an article, not the source of your pain. The author has her position. You don’t have to agree. But the hostility and anger in your reaction aren’t merited in this situation. Perhaps call 2-1-1 for a recommendation to a counselor that can help you.

  147. It definitely does not take a parent to give in for a child to start nagging. I often used to say to my son. “What did I say when you asked before?” and he’d say “No” and I’d then ask “So what do you think has changed?” and he’d explain that he hoped I’d changed my mind. He was 3 or 4 at the time. Even when I replied “And have I ever given in just because you asked again and again?” and the answer was “No” he still nagged. I think it’s an age thing. He doesn’t now but he’s 9 now….

    • But also there are lots of times when negotiations are a good thing and I want them to come back to discuss things with me. The nagging that I don’t like is the “Can I have X or Y?” when the answer is clearly going to always be no. But learning to negotiate is part of learning to be an adult. So if he asks for food half an hour before dinner then the answer is that food will be half an hour away. But if he asks for chocolate when I don’t want him to have any then we can negotiate fruit or a sandwich or whatever. We said we would save “No” (an outright “No”) for the dangerous stuff – can I run across the road? can I climb that tree with the wobbly branch? can I go to that all-night party with people you don’t know? – and explain the other stuff. And that works well for our family…..

  148. Actually, I have done this technique naturally with my older daughter who is easily the Queen of Nagging. The reason she keeps doing it is because my husband will eventually cave in. I never do which drives her made, but saying I’ve answered the question does nothing to level her persistence. She is five, bilingual, bright and quite stunning and most people give her what she wants without much effort. I am the only stonewall in her world. She also adores me and turns to me when things get tough which surprises me.

    Is there a way to end the conversation? Because regardless of my having answered, she seems to feel that she should continue her attempts, continue asking. I don’t give in, but I do occasionally snap and yell at her. This is not good for either or us or even for her toddler sister to witness, but her willingness to keep at something until she gets it is frustrating (including phrases like, “Well, I’ll just ask Papa then, and he’ll get it/give it/buy it for me!”

    This has to stop – any advice?

  149. My sons were all very different and each needed a different parenting style. Some tried nagging and others didn’t. Some took time to reason things out and one was violent even at age one. I have used almost every parenting technique mentioned in all the comments. Each has their place – given the specific child and the specific circumstances. But over all, I’d say spanking needs to stop by age 4 and reasoning should begin no later than age 7. Of course, every child is DIFFERENT. I had one son using reasoning and logic at age 4 and another one who still couldn’t grasp it until age 15. There is NO ONE perfect way to parent. the only one perfect thing about parenting is to give your children hugs and TELL them you love them. :)

  150. The only one thing that is completely no holds barred true about this post is, “Consistency is the Key.” You can do any parenting you want really. Just be consistent. By saying the same answer, usually no, EVERY time the question is asked, that pretty much does it too. Lazy parenting gets us into negotiating EVERY time. If Jenny learns that when she screams for 25 minutes strait she’ll get what she wants, Jenny will scream like a BANSHEE every SINGLE time she wants something. She’ll start to look at the clock. BUT if you can manage to completely ignore the screaming of a child who is not special needs and is PERFECTLY CAPABLE of speaking plain English, he or she will scream much less and totally stop over time. I promise. Say Ask and Answered, sure, great. You could technically say, “PURPLE ELEPHANTS” at the top of your lungs every time. It’ll work just as well as long as you do EVERY TIME.

  151. Consistency works and so does giving up the view that my child is “nagging and negotiating.”
    Saying my child is “nagging and negotiating” is an adult complaint, maybe digging the hole in the front yard is a fun time to be had by all….who knows….maybe we as adults can share in the joy/happiness and laughter of being a child again, even for a moment or two.
    I always appreciate my children’s ability to be persistent, it’s an amazing skill, I simply tell them “no” with a little education on how sickly they will feel after having ice cream for breakfast, if that doesn’t work then I let them have a taste and they learn for themselves that they don’t like ice cream for breakfast.
    Different children learn different ways.

  152. Spanking is a lazy parents way of managing their own internal complaints about their children’s behavior.
    Spanking is a lovely softener word for what’s really going on which is hitting your child (the Police call it Violence and Assault).
    I don’t spank my kids…I use “cost” and “missing out on” as the consequences and my kids get it.
    A discovery of what is important to the child and then letting them know that their behavior will cost them that thing WORKS EVERYTIME!!! – have them miss a birthday party or a day at the zoo – be consistent they will understand and you as a parent don’t feel guilty for violently assaulting your child.

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