Children Who Nag
Begging for Stuff
You've seen him before: the child in the store who constantly nags his parents to buy him a toy or candy he saw on TV. A nagging child can drive you up the wall, but coping with whines and complaints (while maintaining your own sanity) is seldom covered in child-rearing books.
You may say straight-out to your five-year-old, "No, that's something I won't buy for you," or "I can't afford it, it's too expensive." But she won't take "no" for an answer and pleadingly persists. "Mommy, why can't I have it? All the other kids have one." Your child repeats these words over and over again, which would fray the nerves of even the most cool-headed parent.
If your child has found that nagging has worked in the past because you've given in, then he may step up his complaints. "You can get it for me if you want to," he might say, or "I never get anything I want." A child can be just as manipulative as an adult!
The nagging child knows that applying certain kinds of pressure can make you feel guilty for not giving him what he wants-even suggesting that you're a bad parent for not yielding to him. A persistent nagging child, using a twist of logic, may argue that you're the selfish one because you won't buy the item he desperately wants at the moment.
While you may persistently say "no," a power struggle can develop which may affect other areas of your relationship. Children can be uncannily shrewd by stepping up the attack as they try to discover what method will work to make you give in.
For instance, your little one may:
A child's persistent and annoying nagging will exasperate even the most patient parent and may make you extremely upset. Your child may consider it a victory if he's succeeded in making you suffer for not giving him what he wants. Parents have their hands full with such behavior, but yielding to a nagging child just to get him "off your back" isn't the answer.
Just Say No - But Mean It
There are a couple of effective ways to change a nagging child's behavior. The basic rules for parents are:
Once you've said "no," you must stick to your word. You won't offset unwanted behavior if you give in to your child's nagging - even if it's relentless. On the contrary, yielding to nagging only reinforces it because your child will get the message that she's "won." So the next time, she'll continue to nag, and nag more intensely, because she thinks she'll be rewarded when you eventually give in.
A firm "no" followed by some calm words indicating that if your child continues to nag, other privileges or special treats may be withdrawn, is the best approach. For example, "If you continue to nag about the toy, I won't rent that video you wanted to watch on Saturday."
A nagging child requires discipline paired with an understanding that nagging is unacceptable, annoying, and undesirable behavior that you won't tolerate.
More on: Communicating With Your Child