End Your Kids’ Nagging & Negotiating With Three Simple Words

When kids want something, they’ll ask… and ask… and ask until you cave in. But you can teach them to unlearn this annoying negotiation tactic by saying just three words: “Asked and Answered.” The technique comes from parenting book author Lynn Lott.

The concept is simple. When your seven-year-old 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”. 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 he will walk away, maybe with a frustrated grunt, and engage in something else.)

• Step Five: If he 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.

… According to Lott’s book, both parents have to be consistent in using “Asked and Answered” for it to sink in.