If you are a parent, you have heard this a hundred times. You’re walking through the store and your kid sees something that they wish you would buy for them. They make a request, beg, hint, inquire… Whatever you want to call it… The ball is in your court. The source of pain at this point is the potential result that will come from saying no. Will your child have a melt down? Will everyone in the store watch you get into a high stakes barganing match with a 5 year old? It can be costly to say no.
So here’s what I say when my kids ask for something in the store:
“Sure… How much money did you bring?”
This answer has an amazing ability to place the burden back on my kids. And it is actually true. I’m fine with purchasing most of the things they ask for… just not with my own money. They on the other hand have gotten permission from me to buy it, but the fact that they can’t buy it isn’t my fault. It is their fault for not saving their birthday money.
This answer often leads into a conversation about how they could earn some money around the house. Once we start talking about the work they would have to do to earn the money to buy what they have asked for, they reconsider their original request. So far, I’ve had zero public meltdowns when I’ve used this approach.
What has worked well for you in this setting?