How to Stop Nagging Our Child


We sure love our kiddos, but admit it, there are times that we just want to shut them out especially when they keep on asking things over, and over, and over…and yeah, over again. What do we do if they keep on insisting things they want to do or get and we know that it isn’t right for them? Of course, we nag. But nagging never helps, does it? How many times that by pouring out our emotions and getting utterly verbal to our kids left us dead-tired and more frustrated? Always! We sound like a broken record, no one would ever want to listen to. And children, like all the people on earth, also hate to be nagged. Sit up straight. Do not eat that ice cream. You’re having another piece of cake which I told you not to! Besides,for us mums, we hate to nag too, right? But we still do. We nag our kids whom we deeply love. A misguided love perhaps and we know it never works to either side. It may be love nevertheless, but other than its futility, worse, it can do more harm to our relationship.

So how do we prevent nagging? Here is a great solution provided by Lynn Lott, a psychotherapist and a co-author of Positive Discipline series of books that works with kids as young as two up to their teenage years. Her approach is summarized by Amy Mccready in her article, “End child nagging and negotiating with just three simple words.” As Amy puts it, “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.”

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

Here’s how we implement the concept:

When our 5 year-old, let say, begs to eat another piece of cake, and we give him/her a “no”, chances are he/she will be back in five minutes asking us again and this time with a “pleeeeeeaase” just so we know he/she really, really wants to eat another piece.

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

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

2. Ask, “Did you ask me a question about eating another piece of cake?” (He’ll say yes.)

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

4. 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 he/she will walk away, maybe with a puppy face, and engage in something else.)

5. If he/she asks again, simply say, “Asked and Answered.” (No other words are necessary!) Once this technique has been established, these are the only words we should need to say to address nagging questions.

The key for this technique to work is consistency. Being a good parent does not equate by giving in to all our child’s desires. Part of good parenting is learning to say “no,” and deciding the best for our children responsibly.

“MummySG, where every Mum is awesome.”