Concerning Kids – How do kids convince their parents?


Christian Life

Anna Gnatyshyna, CNE.news

Young child about to throw a tantrum. Photo Unsplash, Helena Lopes

Children have an amazing ability for turning everyday conversations into high-stakes negotiations. Whether it's bedtime, eating broccoli, or screen time limits, kids have their own unique approach to getting what they want. They have several common tactics.

Firstly, their plea is persistent. Like water dripping on a rock, they will keep making their request, often at the most inconvenient times. A simple "Can I have a cookie?" can turn into an unending barrage of "Can I have a cookie? Can I have a cookie? Can I have a cookie?" until you find yourself surrendering just to make it stop. They understand that a relentless barrage of requests can wear down even the most steadfast parent.

My mom knew that trick so in my family all kids were told that if the first response was “No”, the answer won’t change no matter what happens next. Moreover, if we persist in “dripping on a rock”, we will be left without dessert. However, many kids ignore such rules and continue pleading like it is life and death fight.


Secondly, kids use emotional appeal. Children have an innate ability to tug at our heartstrings. They can deliver a heartwarming compliment that leaves you feeling like the best parent in the world. "You're the nicest, bestest mom ever. Can I please have just one more story?" This technique is highly effective in melting parental resolve, as it appeals to our love and desire to make our children happy.

Thirdly, as they grow, they use more logic and reasoning to make their case. It can be quite entertaining to hear a four-year-old attempt to present a well-structured argument for why they should get dessert before dinner. "Well, if I have dessert now, I won't be hungry for dinner, so it's saving time and food!"


They also use the tactic of compromise often. They might not get that extra hour of TV, but they'll settle for 30 minutes and promise to clean their room tomorrow. "If I finish my broccoli today, can I have ice cream tomorrow?" It's an offer that seems reasonable in the heat of the moment, but it can lead to some rather creative negotiations about what "tomorrow" really means in a child's world.

When all else fails, some kids unleash the nuclear option – the temper tantrum. These spectacular displays of emotion can leave parents feeling as though they've stumbled into a war zone. Children clearly understand that a well-executed meltdown can result in parental capitulation, especially when it happens in a public place. Parents must have countermeasures before going out in public space so that it could save them in the long run.

The way kids negotiate tests the boundaries of patience, love, and reason of adults. The negotiation process can be rather exhausting for us, but that ability to negotiate for a few more minutes of playtime may serve a kid well in the future.



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