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Updated 26 November 2009

How to say no to kids, nicely

If your children whine or nag to convince you to give them what they want, here are some tips on how to bring the parental cone of silence down on them.

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If your children whine or nag to convince you to give them what they want, here are some tips on how to bring the parental cone of silence down on them.

A survey by the Centre for a New American Dream found that children learn the nagging habit early in life, and it's the result of parents putting children at the centre of household attention.

Another finding of the survey is that children nag and whine for their parents to buy something because they feel peer pressure to have the latest products. More than 50% of the children in the survey said having these products makes them feel accepted by their peers, which makes them feel better about themselves.

Teaching internal self-worth

Jody Johnston Pawel, author of The Parent's Toolshop: The Universal Blueprint for Building a Healthy Family, says parents need to teach their kids to look at their internal qualities and skills to determine self-worth. Parents have to teach children how to respond to peer pressure and how to gain peer approval in acceptable ways, by being friendly to everyone, for example.

Pawel offers her 10 best replies to nagging children. When children nag, parents can:

  • State a reason for refusal
  • Recognise the child's feelings but remain firm
  • Give a conditional "yes"
  • Suggest an acceptable alternative
  • Encourage the child to save money for the purchase
  • Have the child pay the extra cost for name brands
  • Let the child choose one item from the options
  • Stick to the budget. Children can get several lower-cost items or one brand name
  • Tell children they'll definitely not get the item if they ask again
  • Leave the store

- (Health24, updated November 2012)

 
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