Tips on Parenting Nagging Kids Who Won't Take No for an Answer

Kids are persistent and often will not take "no" for an answer. They continue to ask for something, nagging you until you give them a defeated “yes.” While giving in may seem like the best option, since it gives you peace and quiet, it teaches your children that this method works. Next time your child wants something, he will continue to nag until you give in 2. Some tips and strategies can help you deal with nagging kids who won’t take no for an answer without reinforcing negative behavior.

Just Say No

While it may seem simple, one of the most effective methods to stop your child from nagging is to just say no. The key to the effectiveness of this method is to stick to your word. When your child asks for something, respond with a firm “no” and don't waver. If your child continues to nag, tell him that, if this behavior continues, another privilege will be taken away 3.

Eventually, this parenting tactic teaches your child that, not only does nagging not work, but it gets other privileges taken away as well.

Walk Away

If your child continues to ask for something after you’ve said no the first time, just walk away. There is no need to overexplain or try to justify your answer. You are the parent; you don’t need to explain yourself 2. When you walk away, you leave your child alone, taking away the option of nagging.

If you are at a store, you can still employ this method, but to a lesser extent. Turn and begin to walk away but always make sure your child is within your eyesight. You don’t want to leave your young child standing alone in a busy place 2.

Remove Your Child from the Situation

Children get easily excited and stimulated, which can lead to inappropriate behavior such as nagging. When this happens remove your child from the situation. If he wants an extra piece of cake at a party, tell him it’s time to say goodbye and leave. If it’s a stuffed animal at a toy store, leave the store. If it’s an ice cream cone after dinner, send him out of the kitchen to play in the bedroom. Unlike adults, children have a short memory and often forget about something when it is no longer right in front of them.

Reinforce Good Behavior

Discourage bad behavior, such as nagging, by reinforcing good behavior. When your child listens without any arguments or does what he is told, reinforce this behavior by thanking him for listening or telling him how nice it is when he doesn’t nag. Your child thrives on this praise, making it more likely that he will repeat this good behavior in the future 3.