Why I Make My Kids ASK Me For Things

You know that thing where your kids mingle with other kids making you acutely aware of a random parenting strategy you're sold-out to and didn't even know it before the particular encounter!? Yeah, that. All the time. x10 with foster friends coming and going.

Why I Make My Kids ASK Me For Things

One that came to my attention recently was the fact that, early on, I make my kids ask for things politely. Like not just "please" added to the end of a statement but an officially-in-the-form-of-a-question ask me. We have met several children that will come to me with random statements and walk away totally confused at why they didn't get what they wanted. This particular strategy started because I didn't want my kids barking orders at me and/or assuming I could read their minds in order to fix their stated issues.

Example 1:

"I'm hungry." OR This or thirst are the Most common I hear. Am I the only one frustrated by this? Holy cow, just tell me what you want already. I've learned most of the time, they make this statement because they know the answer already- "It's not meal time yet", "____ is what's for snack", "Your water bottle is right there." Be best is when I say, "Can you ask me politly" and they say, "...I'm thirsty....please?" False.

Example 2:

"I'm bored." To which I usually respond, "Only boring people get bored...are you boring?" This usually solves it but occasionally they'll come up with something they'd like me to do in order for them to 'fix' their boredom.


Then it progressed to not wanted to play ref all day. I needed them to be able manage some of this on their own. I wanted them to understand norms {not "fair"} in our world and be able to deal.

Example 3: 

"They won't give me [insert random toy]." My job as a parent is not to police the usage of your toys. No I will not set a timer. No, I'm not going to make him 'be done' with it just because you walked in and wanted it. Thanks to Daniel Tiger, I can often sing my response, "FIND A WAY TO PLAY...TOGETHER!" 😉

Example 4:

"MO-om! ___ called me [insert childish name-calling]" Ugg, I failed AS I'm writing this with a response like "Tell ____ to change their attitude and words or they'll be going to timeout". Boo I'm wishing I'd said, "Are we supposed to talk to each other that way? [no] How would you like me to help with that?" To which they would ideally say, "Can you talk to ____ about how they're talking to me mean?"

Example 5:

"She won't do her part of the job." THIS one is the most rare but the hardest to not get involved in based on the statement presented. It never fails that in a 'group chore' someone doesn't pull their weight or there are too many bosses with ideas of their own. Once a request for my assistance is made, I try to talk to both sides reminding them that "sometimes people don't do their share and the job still has to get done" and "laziness is not an option in our family," "find a way to work together."


How I've began to eliminating these problem statements from my children's vocabulary: [insert awesome 90s Spice Girls' music] "Tell me what you want, what you really really want." Kidding, kinda not kidding.

"Please think about what how you would like me to help you solve that problem. When you have decided, ask me for something, to do something, to help you somehow."

After most of my acute-parental-awareness moments, I start thinking if it really matters. Does this parenting strategy not only make my life easier in some way but does it actually benefit my children long-term. I believe making kids ask me for things benefits them in the following ways.

Thinking Skills

Making my children stop and THINK rather than just "stating their problem" to me makes them learn to stop, think, and then act. This is a key skill in life that so many individuals don't have or need to build. If more people would stop and think about something BEFORE acting/saying, the world would have a lot less issues.

Identify Needs

When kids stop to think they are forced to identify their own needs. Most of the time, they've already stated what they perceive as their problem but in that moment of pause, they can then ID what they need/want in the situation. If they pause long enough, they could even decide if what they are complaining about is based on a Need or a Want.

Problem Solving Skills

When my kids stop, think, and then act, they will learn to problem solve on their own. In life, their will not be [nor should there be] a 'mamma' on speed dial or worse, standing next to them to help problem solve. My kids need to be able to identify their needs, and come up with a solution on their own.

Social Skills

Understanding how to present a well-thought-out problem, with everyone's needs in consideration, to someone my kids see as a resource for help requires a lot of social skills. Without being able to navigate society properly, our kids will either be constantly under our wing or failing about drowning.


Learning to work through the above skills on their own will train my kids to be healthy independent people. I'm not talking about little kids who just happen to care for themselves out of neglect or kids who roam alone because they're considered 'old enough'. I mean, I will feel confident in my kids ability to navigate tough stuff on their own if they can do these things.


Manors are the icing on the cake! Although many individuals can function in society without them, I believe it will not only benefit my kids, socially advancing them, but manors are also another way to show love/respect to others; putting others before ourselves.


Don't get me wrong, it takes a lot of reiteration. I'm better at reminding them for the simple things but I often find myself in the middle of their kid drama before I realize it. For some kids, it will take much longer and more detailed explanations the first few times. For most of my kids I can simply say, "can you make that a question" or "how would you like my help with that?"

Do you think there are benefits to making your kids "ask" for things or am off in left field here?

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