End Your Kids’ Nagging And Negotiating With Three Simple Words

End Your Kids’ Nagging And Negotiating With Three Simple Words

When kids want something, they’ll ask..and ask…and ask until you cave in. You can teach them to unlearn this annoying negotiation tactic by saying just three words: “Asked and Answered.”

Photo by plasticrevolver

The technique comes from parenting book author Lynn Lott and shared on the Positive Parenting Solutions blog, which writes:

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 mum/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.

Both parents are going to have to be consistent in using “Asked and Answered” for it to sink in (especially for kids who are exhaustingly persistent in their badgering). Once it does though, hopefully this technique will help you stop sounding like a broken record.

Child Nagging & Negotiating [Positive Parenting Solutions]


  • Just say you will give them the money to do XYZ, but only if they agree to do a lot of housework for it, like a month of cleaning, dishwashing, gardening

    This is better because you haven’t said no and shuts them up immediately, you give them an option, teaches them practical math, teaches them important skills for later independence, if the thing is minor they’ll forget they wanted it in a day or so, and if they do end up saving enough, they’ll understand the value of a dollar and won’t ask you things for free anymore

    And you won’t sound like some stupid book that essentially tells you to stick to your guns and never compromise. Gee I wonder how that kid will end up

    • I ended up pretty damn well, thank you very much. My mum taught me that no meant no and that was it, end of story.

      She confessed a few years ago (I’m 29 now) that she sometimes said no out of fatigue or anger and on reflection regretted it. But instead of changing her mind, she’d surprise me with something out of the blue (toy, lollies, whatever). Of course, I never made the connection, but she was balancing the books.

      • Teaches you to never question authority, and that’s why we’re in the mess we’re in globally
        Nobody is willing to stand up against madness, instead everyone accepts madness

    • Corporal punishment (even, or perhaps especially, of small children) is illegal in many places. (Although not generally punished unless it becomes excessive.)

      You may find that the place where you live is one of them.

  • I just love these trite quick fixes for issues that aren’t fixed in a day… Here’s something to remember,.. you’re stuck with ’em till they grow up and hopefully leave the house…!! Keep in mind, kids will consistently push their boundaries. What they can’t get away with today while your attention is high, they will try on tomorrow when your attention is low… that’s what kids do… 🙂

  • I thought the three words were going to be “Why you little….” followed by a choking gesture.

    I have no problem saying no to my little boy. If he gets really annoying with multiple requests, I threaten him with the “I said no and if you ask me again I’ll “. It normally doesn’t get that far as he knows no means no.

    • I’d have concerns if your wife is asking if she can dig a hole in the back yard.
      I hope you sleep lightly..

      • Thanks for that, my first laugh of the day – until I remembered that my wife *is* digging a hole in the garden. If you don’t hear from me again…

    • Man, I think I may have said it before – but it bears repeating – it’s really cool that you comment on these sites. It is literally what makes a blog into a community, and stuff like this from @markserrels is what I attribute the grand success of their ‘Talk amongst yourselves’ on KotakuAU.

      You should spread this lesson to anyone within your organization who will listen!

  • hopefully this technique will help you stop sounding like a broken record.
    by saying the same three words every single time…

  • this doesnt work with 2 yr olds… or 4 yr olds. so whats the point if they are already out of control by the time they understand.

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