My 6 Year Old Will Not Take No for an Answer.

Updated on December 15, 2009
M.B. asks from Colorado Springs, CO
14 answers

Hi everyone,

I'm sorry, but I am just SO frustrated right now. My 6 yr old does not take No for an answer. He will ask over and over and over again until I am so emotionally exhausted and my day is ruined. What can I do to make him understand that NO means NO?


What can I do next?

  • Add your own comment
  • Ask your own question
  • Join the Mamapedia community
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

Featured Answers



answers from Colorado Springs on

When he asks the second time, reply "And what did I say?". Repeat as many times as he asks. The broken record trick works for us and I hope it works for you, too. Never, never give in.

More Answers



answers from Denver on

Them: "Moooooom, can I have a new toy?"
You: "No"
Them: "Puh-leeeeeeeaaaaassssseee"
You: "My answer is NO. My answer will not change. If you ask me again you will (pick your favorite:) lose a favorite toy, sit in your room for a time-out, do an extra chore around the house."
Them: "But I waaannnttt it!!!"
You: "OK, here is your -insert consequence- and make them do it."

A few times of this and they will get the idea no means no. And remember if you say no to something, never back down. Personally, it's why I try hard not to say "no", but in a minute, later or a set time when they can have XYZ. If they're asking for candy, treats, etc then pick a time when it's acceptable for you. The big one around our house is, I want candy!. So I say after lunch, not minute before. They know when/where it's OK and I'm not saying "no" when I want them to have some candy, just not right now. Make sense?

Remember, this time of year is great for: Are you being nice? Santa only brings toys to nice kids. :-)

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Colorado Springs on

You might not believe how many of us have been (or are currently) in the same boat! Children are wonderful and frustrating at the same time. It's part of their job description.

I can look back with hindsight on this one because my children sometimes did it and it took me a long while to understand. The reason your child does not take no for an answer is because he knows your no doesn't necessarily mean "no." If he works on you long enough your "no" will (or may) turn to "yes." What a wonderful game! What a feeling of power! Why shouldn't he use the power you've let him have?

So the game will need to stop on both sides and, since you're the grownup, it needs to stop on your side first. What do you say "no" to? Do you really mean it? Think for a bit about how you respond. You say "yes" when you can, of course. If you really mean "maybe," then you need to say that. Save "no" for when it's really "no." And then stick to it. It's not always easy, of course, but know your ground and stand on it.

Once you've decided what deserves a "no," the rest of the game needs to stop. The details will be up to you. Your little one may ask you anything, but once you answer, that's it. Your yes means yes; your no means no; your maybe means maybe. If he persists, the consequence needs to be just unpleasant enough for the game not to be fun any more. No meanness, of course - but what would work at your house? Elimination of a television or game or other privilege for half an hour? It might mean adjusting your activities if you go to the park as a family and your high-pressure salesman has to stay home. But you may have to go with that for a while until he gets the idea.

Of course, you do all this with calmness and good humor. No lectures, no long explanations to ease your own feelings. His actions do have consequences, and maybe he'll remember next time, and you love him dearly.

You're a great mom! You know this can turn into a very serious matter and it's good to take care of it when he's six because it would be much harder if he were doing it at sixteen. Good for you for wanting to work on it now.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Boise on

I'm so sorry you are frustrated. It's hard when you are pushed to your limit. In order to teach your son that NO means NO, you are going to have to prove it to him. You can't give in because then he'll continue to know that NO really means YES if he pushes you far enough. Have you heard of "Love and Logic"? I would HIGHLY recommend this book to you. There are great tips on how to deal with what you described. I use it with my son and it makes parenting MUCH less stressful. Good luck to you.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Denver on

Hi there,

I have a 6 year old also, and get this sometimes. Could he be asking over and over again because he finds if he asks you multiple times eventually you just give in? You always have to mean what you say. I know that sounds simple, but children know how to get what they want, and if in the past he has succeeded in asking 20 times, and on the 20th time you finally give and say "fine!", then he will keep asking.
I remind my son all of the time that I say what I mean, and my answer will not change, that usually stops the questioning.
Good luck!



answers from Salt Lake City on

at about the third ask I say The answer is still no and if you ask again....(insert a consequence) whether it be a time out, losing a privilege or doing an extra chore. I saw another mom had put this as well and I just have to agree this is what I do. My kids DON'T keep asking. I started this when my daughter was 2. I use it with the teenagers as well. it goes for if they ask me and then dad as well. That one gets an instant penalty though because once one parent has said no, it sticks even if the other didn't know about it.
Stave off the emotional exhaustion, and it might take a few times for the kid to get that you are serious about it but after a couple of lost privileges you won't have to keep doing it for too long except once in a while when they test boundaries.
when my dd is telling me she wants something at the store I tell her I know you want everything. and keep walking.
she sometimes tells me now, I want that mommy, then laughs and says I know I want everything.
Sometimes the answer is just no. its so healthy for them to learn that early. Good for you in sticking to your guns on the no, but save yourself some grief and don't get into the game of continually saying it. :)



answers from Missoula on

Sounds like he is strong willed... I would just make sure no matter what, do NOT give in. All it takes is once. Otherwise my husband who believes life is to be filled of only fun things (all else is my job) I mow the lawn, take the trash out, push in his chair after he eats, he cannot even close a cupboard, and if he wants something it will be his (no impulse control)... he was always give everything. My mother-in-law aplogizes everytime she visits, she said she was just too tired and he was so persistant.... it is a BIG problem.
In my house with my kids: I give one warning, if I have to say it again (always keep your calm) then they lose a toy, it goes away until the next day. Also, they become totally invisible until they have calmed down and are rational enough to hold a conversation. Usually during the fit, I pretend it is a lovely day and sound extra postive (and calm) and play playdough with another child or I turn on music (happy) to drown out their problem.. I absolutely won't discuss it, mine as well talk to a dead horse (otherwise it/the fit will continue)..... until they are calm then I follow-up with a how glad I am to see they have gotten themself undercontrol again and that I love them. If it is an object they desire, I help them write a birthday wishlist or offer ways for them to earn the money (I do not impulse buy for them)... you could help them keep track of how much they have earned on a chart (simple math practice)... Just be careful to not ever give in or give attention to negative behaviors otherwise they will seek them out, just to get your negative attention!!



answers from Provo on

NEver ever never EVER give in, and when he continuously keeps asking send him to his room or put him in time out ect. If he keeps asking it means he has learned that all he needs to do is wear you down and you will give in. Kids are manipulative - I can remember doing this to my poor mother because if you ardued with her enough about something her answer would change. She made parenting a LOT harder for herself because she would never stick to her guns and all 6 of us learned this very quickly. When you say no, MEAN no, and don't let them talk you out of what you have decided. Just make sure that you pick your battles wisely... don't say no before you have really thought about what he is asking, because if you say it and its unreasonable, it will be hard for you to follow thorugh with your "no" answer when your child starts telling you all the reasons thats not fair. Good luck! My best advice: Say no and stick to it, no matter what, and if your child keeps asking after you have already said no 2-3 times send him to his room for not respecting your answer.



answers from Denver on

I sometimes use the statement, "I've already answered that question 3 times. I will not discuss this with you anymore." Then when my son asks again, I don't answer. It's hard not to respond (we just went through this again last night) but it does seem to cut off the asking.

I agree, it is emotionally exhausting. But you have to stick to your guns.



answers from Boise on

Something I've taken to heart is the advice to think about something before saying no, so you're sure that your answer really is no! Sometimes I find myself saying no just because I'm tired of being asked for things all day, and I'm really not being fair.

It's much better to say "I'll think about it," or "Let me think about it for a minute," or "maybe" than to say yes or no right away, if you have even any hesitation about what you want to decide.

And when my kids start whining about my decision and start pestering me, I tell them what I expect of them. I tell them that I don't want to hear any more about it, that I've made my decision, and I won't be changing my mind. If they won't stop pestering, I tell them again that I don't want to hear about it, so if they want to complain, they're going to have to go to their rooms where I can't hear them. That usually gets them to stop, but if it doesn't, then I make sure they go to their room.

Your son will learn! Stick to your guns!



answers from Denver on

We totally lived with this one at 6 and still do sometimes -it mostly involved throwing a fit about not getting what he wanted and asking over and over again. He would even throw a fit if I said yes but it will have to be tomorrow! Big or little, it made me crazy. I completely understand your frustration.

Here's a couple of things we did with my son -

Outside of the "moment" we talked about how humans behave and how it's much easier to ask someone for something when they feel good about what they are going to do for you. If they feel pressured or pushed into something, they may do it but they won't feel good about it. If I feel angry or frustrated or worn out, the last thing I want to do is shell out $30 or spend all afternoon some place that I dont want to go.

We were very firm that fussing and nagging about a no answer means an automatic "NO". If it persisted, then he started losing privileges. I would usually make him choose either no TV, no computer, or no Bionicles for 24 hours. If he persisted then it went to choosing 2, then 3, then losing them for 48 hours, etc. Yes, it went that far and it was exhausting but it also felt good to stand my ground and stand up for myself.

As he got older and more able to discuss things rather than react, I was able to ask him questions like why it was so important to him and how he was planning on paying for it - he could use his allowance or he could earn the money doing extra chores to pay for it. If it was important enough that he wanted to save up and pay for it, then I gave it serious consideration.

I hope that helps you!!



answers from Denver on

I have had three 6 year olds.

I just say no and thats the end of the conversation.
I don't reason, explain, repeat, etc.
just no.



answers from Fort Collins on

I'd suggest not responding after telling him 2-3 times. Be specific that you are NOT going to change your mind and him asking more is only going to make you more firm on your answer. What ever you do DON'T give in to whatever it is that he wants. consistancy is the best medicine and it shouldn't take more than a week or two of that to help him understand. I wish you the best of luck!



answers from Provo on

Somewhere along the line, he learned that "no" meant "maybe" or "no, unless you bug me a lot." From the inception, when I have told my kids "no," and they keep at it, I say, "Do I ever change my mind?" The look on their face says it all, "Mom doesn't change her mind..."

And if that child DOES keep up, I say, "If you ask me that again, that is your way of telling me that you need a time out so that you can remember what I told you the first time."

Then give the time out. Done. Lather, rinse, repeat.

For Updates and Special Promotions
Follow Us

More Questions About