Have you ever noticed how children are persistent when it comes to wanting something? When a child wants you to Yes to something, be it a new toy, trip out, not eat their vegetables, etc you can almost guarantee that their usual lack of persistence suddenly disappears!
They seem to know when we are losing patience and on the brink of saying yes for a quiet life, I know with mine that after a busy day I am not up for an argument and find myself wavering to say yes to something I’d usually say no to simply for a bit of peace and quiet.
So how do we stop the constant questions and repeated requests that you have already said no to, whether it’s ‘can I have chocolate cake for breakfast’ or ‘I don’t like apples so can I have a ice cream instead’. Children have very focused, one track minds and basically will carry on until they get what they want. We need to teach them, that no means no and that continued pleading will not wear you down and make you change your mind.
Think about the occasions when you have given in, children learn that if they catch you at the right moment, if they nag you enough they will eventually get what they want, so you have to remain firm at all times. If you say no, commit to it, choose your battles though and do not just say no as an automatic reflex because once you say no you must stick to it. It is okay to say, let me think about it for 10 mins and still say no to something. Once you have said no if they keep asking just to say ‘Asked and Answered’
So, when they ask for chocolate for breakfast and you have said no, when they ask again whether it is 10 mins later or the next day, you simply reply, Asked and Answered. If you have explained why something is not possible, you don’t need to repeat yourself and instead of repeating yourself or jumping into a lecture, avoid child nagging by getting eye to eye and follow the process below:
Ask, “Have you ever heard of ‘Asked and Answered’?” (They will probably say no.)
Ask, “Did you ask me a question about having Cake for breakfast?” (they will say yes.)
Ask, “Did I answer it?” (They will probably say, “Yes, but I really ….”)
Ask, “Do I look like the kind of mum/dad/ who will change her/his mind if you ask me the same thing over and over?” (Chances are your nagging child will walk away, probably moaning and groaning about how life is unfair but hopefully to do something else.)
If they continue to ask, simply say, “Asked and Answered.” (No other words are necessary!)
Once this technique has been established, these are the only words you 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 the questioning continues even after you have responded with “Asked and Answered,” simply walk away. Once your child sees you will not even engage in the discussion, they will learn very quickly that nagging is not an effective behaviour to achieve their goals.