As a parent, you need to know how to nip pestering in the bud. Perhaps you have been a victim of pestering without knowing it. It isn’t an easy situation to get out of. The good news is; you have the absolute say over your child’s pestering power.
What is pestering power?
Pestering is an annoying and persistent request for something. This happens a lot inside a supermarket, toy shop or a restaurant. When your child adopts this kind of an attitude, he is not willing to take ‘no’ for an answer.
If you cave in, it becomes pester power. It is an annoying habit that can ruin your day and cause you untold embarrassment. It may also dent your finances when you end up buying stuff you haven’t planned for. Knowing how to nip pestering in the bud will save you a lot of trouble.
“Tantrums are not bad behavior. Tantrums are an expression of emotion that became too much for the child to bear. No punishment is required. What your child needs is compassion and safe, loving arms to unload in.”
― Rebecca Eanes, The Newbie’s Guide to Positive Parenting
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This book enables a parent to let go of fear-based techniques and embrace the philosophy of positive parenting. Filled with practical examples, personal stories, and nuggets of hard-earned wisdom, The Newbie’s Guide to Positive Parenting has everything you need to change your parenting paradigm and enrich your family life.
If you are desperately missing the close bond you once had with your child, if your days are filled with tears and frustration, this book is for you. The relationships we build with our children last a lifetime. Ultimately, love is the only leverage we have with our kids.
How to nip pestering in the bud
Say you have a six year old child.
To a six year old, the world is full of attractive and desirable things that must be possessed. And who can blame them? Every attractive thing they desire is displayed at eye-level inside the supermarket. What’s more, it is within arm’s reach and they know and believe mommy or daddy can afford it. It is therefore impossible for them to understand why they can’t have it all. And so, to get what they wants they resort to what they know and do best.
Pestering and throwing tantrums!
Pestering works because your child knows you won’t be able to deny them what they want. They know you are vulnerable and you would do anything to save face and your public reputation.
The more your child knows throwing tantrums is an effective way for them to get things, the more they will use it. Unlike what parents think, saying ‘n’o to your child’s demands doesn’t hurt them. Instead, your child will learn how to communicate, negotiate and influence others.
Ways you can prevent pestering
- Teach your child about the purpose of advertisements and limit their access to it. Advertisements are specifically designed to compel children to want things. When they know this, they will learn how to respond to advertisements.
- Prepare a shopping list with your child and set a budget for it. This will teach your child about having priorities and sticking to them. It will also teach them that there are things that are important for your family’s wellbeing.
- Allow your child to use their allowance money to buy the things they want. This will teach them that nothing is for free. It will also enable them to know that they can only buy things they can afford. This will teach them responsibility.
- Appraise their good shopping behavior. By showing appreciation, your child will notice your positive attention towards their good behavior. It will also affirm to them that you are holding them accountable to being a smart shopper.
- Offer them healthy alternatives such as a trip to the aquarium, zoo or park. You can also donate money to a charitable organization instead of spending it on things. Most supermarkets have tins where you can drop loose change. This will teach your child to be sensitive to the needs vulnerable people in the society.
Pestering can be both stressful and embarrassing. Don’t send mixed signals to your child. Learn to say ‘no’ and stick to it. Do this consistently, and your child will eventually get the message. When you say ‘no’ and give in, your child may get the message that pestering can work.
Don’t just give in because strangers are watching. Most parents have probably been through the same thing. Some of them could be looking for a solution. By refusing to give in, your response could teach other parents how to nip pestering in the bud.
“Boys are easy. I mean, there are just a lot of bruises when they’re young. With boys, you get a lot of accidental jabs in the eye and stepping on your feet, and those tantrums they cause when they don’t want to leave the toy store.”
– Jodie Foster
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James Ouma is a CTI Clarity Coach, Cyclist and Writer. He is passionate about positive masculinity and helping incarcerated male teens to reconcile with their families and their communities. He loves staring at his bicycle, flipping through movies without watching them, and playing ‘tap out’ with his wife.