5 Ways To Get Your Kids To Stop Begging—Right Now

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A lot of my friends have kids and it’s interesting to see how they each parent—some are strict, others less so, and some manage to find a middle ground.

Recently, I wrote about how to stop your child’s meltdowns, and how to get your kids to stop begging is a related topic.

Your Tango’s Heather Steiger, also author of What’s Different About You?, wrote a very matter-of-fact article about it.

“Next time your mini cross-examiner is giving you the run-down, take charge, be a mom, and above all, be consistent,” said Steiger.

“If you say no, you better mean it. By changing your mind, your child has gained more than a piece of candy; they’ve gained the knowledge you can be broken down easier than a cardboard box.”

Personally, I love this analogy. I have seen this a lot, where a parent will tell their child they can’t have dessert unless they finish their dinner, but then cave and let them have that ice cream. What message is the child learning then? Here are Steiger’s 5 phrases that will help end an argument and whining, once and for all:

1. “Asked and answered”

Steiger says she uses this one the most of the five and gave a sample scenario for us to play along.

Child: “Mommy, can I have this?”

Mother: “No, honey.”

Child: “But mom, I don’t have one.”

Mother: “Asked and answered.”

Child: “You never get me anything.”

Mother: “Asked and answered.”

Steiger says to keep repeating that catchphrase, “asked and answered,” until the child gives up.

2. “I’m done discussing this”

Steiger gives us another sample scenario here:

Child: “Can Ashlyn spend the night?”

Mother: “No, she just spent the night here last week.”

Child: “Please?”

Mother: “I’m not discussing this again.”

Child: “But …”

Then she recommends you, as the parent, stop talking. Just smile, tilt your head to the right, look your child in the eye, and walk off.

3. “This conversation is over”

And another learn-by-reading-then-doing scenario for us from Steiger:

Child: “Can I ride my bike?”

Mother: “No, it’s raining outside.”

Child: “But I’ll wear my raincoat and it’s only sprinkling.”

Mother: “This conversation is over.”

Child: “But pleeeasssee?”

Mother: “Asked and answered.”

I love how Steiger goes back to that—and it works time and time again!

4. “Don’t bring it up again”

Child: “I want these shoes.”

Mother: “No, those cost too much.”

Child: “But I don’t like those.”

Mother: “You’re getting the shoes in the cart and that’s final. Don’t bring it up again.”

Child: “I need them!”

Mother: “You brought it up again. There went your dessert for tonight.”

“Yes, you’re going to get more crying with that response,” Steiger said, “but remember: getting your child to understand you mean business is a marathon, not a sprint.”

5. “The decision has been made. If you ask again there will be a consequence”

Child: “Can I watch the iPad?”

Mother: “No, you know you’re not allowed having technology at the table.”

Child: “I won’t get food on it.”

Mother: “The decision has been made. If you ask again there will be a consequence.”

Child: “But I promise!”

Mother: “I told you not to bring it up again. No iPad for the rest of the day.”

Once again, it is time to be firm and not to back down. “This is how you will earn your child’s respect and set up a relationship where your child accepts your decisions the first time,” said Steiger.


At the end of Steiger’s Your Tango piece, she gave a “success story” about working the above methods on her four-year-old, Charlotte.

Charlotte: “Can I have a cookie?”

Me: “Yes, you may have one.”

Charlotte: “Can I have three?”

Me: “This conversation is over.”

Charlotte: “OK, I’ll just break it in half so I can have two.”

Steiger suggests laminating, carrying around, and/or memorizing the five steps, so you, too, can get your child(ren) to stop begging.

Images: Mindaugas Danys/Flickr (1); Aikawa Ke/Flickr (2)