Parenting Pathway #134: But Pleeeeease! Can We?

“Mommy can we please•? But please? Please? Please? Can we now? Just for a minute?”

Don’t you just love those whining begging and pleading questions from your children? Here’s the deal: no matter what, don’t cave in once you’ve communicated your decision! Children are very good at using those tiny, whiny words and pleading eyes when asking questions for things they want or want to do. 

The key is to answer your children in a positive way (e.g., “Sure, right after dinner,” or “Maybe next time.”), then do not give in to their begging and pleading, no matter how many times they ask.

Unfortunately, research shows that by the third or fourth time a child asks for something that a parent has already refused, most parents give in and allow the child to do or have what he or she is repeatedly pleading for. And guess what? By doing this we’re reinforcing that lovely little whinny voice and those pleading eyes. So expect much more of it.

If you want to work on eliminating that behavior, it takes work and consistency. Try these steps:

  1. Take time to consider what your child is asking for before you answer.
  2. Make your decision and if you’ve decided against what your child is asking for, try to give your answer in a positive way and give an explanation (e.g., “After dinner, that’s a great idea.”, or “Sure, next week.”, or “I think that is a great idea and if we could go now, we sure would.”)
  3. When your child asks again, reflect their feelings, but don’t give in (e.g., “I can tell you were really hoping to do that and that it is important to you.”)
  4. Share how it makes you feel when your child asks again for something that you have already addressed.

Whatever you do, do not give in because that simply teaches your child that all he or she has to do is to ask repeatedly and they will get what they want. But that doesn’t mean you can never change your mind. Just don’t make the change to quiet the continued asking. Perhaps, for example, your child presents new information. Whatever the reason, make sure that you communicate the reason to your child to explain your changed decision.

Coaching Inquiries: How do you handle your child repeatedly asking for something you’ve already addressed? How can you support your child to accept and respect your choices? When you hear your child’s repeated asking or whining, what is your physical experience? Where do you feel this in your body? What impact does it have on you?

To reply to this Pathway, use our Feedback Form. To learn more about our Parenting Coaching Programs and to arrange for a complementary Parenting coaching session, Click Here or Email Christina.

May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.

Christina Lombardo, PCC, CPCC (
LifeTrek Coaching International
Columbus, OH

Telephone: 614-332-9747
Fax: 415-634-2301

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