Teens, listen up!
No matter who your parents are, there are a few things that you can do to drastically increase the chance of having them say "YES" rather then "NO." Drastically!
Parents love to pretend they are cool and collected, but in reality, they are very predictable.
So much so that I guarantee that if you read the tips below, you can improve your life in several ways! Your parents will allow you to do more, trust you more and be more willing to see life from your perspective.
Try the tips below and let me know how they work out!
1. Ask with gratitude, show appreciation!
Nothing gets you a faster "No" from parents than giving them a feeling that they owe you or that you "deserve" things. Sure, they are responsible for your well-being and all that, but this is not an exercise in fairness. It's about getting what you want.
So, when you ask for something, use an equal amount of gratitude and an equal amount of asking. Saying, "Dad, can I have an Electric Guitar?", is a recipe for a dry, speedy and disappointing "No." Instead, try this: "Dad, I know you buy me expensive stuff sometimes that you work really hard for. This is really great, thank you." Whatever follows that will be much better received.
The point is not to trick your parents into thinking you care; the point is that appreciation spreads good will, which will certainly come back to you.
2. Trade what you want for what you can do
You may ask: "What can I possibly offer my parents? They hold all the cards!" Not true at all! Your parents care about one thing (having to do with you) almost more than anything: Your growing up into a responsible, happy adult. Any way you can show them that you are moving in the right direction will help your case endlessly.
So, when asking for something, also offer something in return. Two things you can always offer are doing specific chores and getting better grades in specific topics.
Being specific is important because that way, the results can be measured. Saying, "I'll get better grades," is one thing, but it's much better to say, "I'll get better grades in History." You also actually have to mean it and do your part. Otherwise, your promise can have the opposite effect.
3. Make them look good
One thing your parents care about, whether they admit it or not, is how they appear to others. Adults often feel judged about their parenting skills, and any way you can help them to feel confident as parents is a good thing.
So, when hanging around your parents in public, put your grown-up pants on. Make polite conversation with their friends. Answer their redundant questions as interestingly as possible. Contribute to the social scene. Believe me -- proud parents' hearts and wallets are much more likely to be open to your requests.
4. Match funds
"Mom, I really need a new pair of jeans. I tried them on at the mall. They cost $70, but I don't have that much money. If I pay for half of them with my babysitting money, can you contribute the rest?"
This request sounds appreciative, responsible and like you're a kid that knows the value of money. Mom will probably buy it for you outright!
5. Earn credit, slowly
When you want Mom or Dad to buy you something small, then just go ahead and ask. But for the bigger things -- a car, MacBook Air, Nikon DSLR, etc. -- a more deliberate approach and sometimes patience is needed.
The main thing you will need to prove to them is that you're mature enough to deserve that thing you want. Don't ask me why, but it does appear to be the case.
Figure out small things that will make you seem more responsible and do them. Offer to take on small responsibilities and always do what you said you would do and a tiny bit more.
If you show that you want to contribute to the family and don't resent your responsibilities, you will start to be seen in a whole different light -- a more grown-up light. When that happens, asking for things will have a much higher rate of success.
6. Be part of the solution, not the problem
We all feel mistreated and deserving of more sometimes. Sometimes we really are. However, being mature sometimes means being happy with what we have! Many adults don't seem to get this idea, BTW.
So, lower the rate of drama. Don't cite unfairness towards you unless it's blatant. When a sibling starts something, be the mature one and let it go. All this builds confidence and credit. And it helps build a platform for the eventual "Sure, I'll get that for you."
7. Ask for delayed response
When they're pressed into a corner, or when they feel rushed, parents are much more likely to say "No" rather than "Yes."
So, start any big requests with something like this: "Dad, don't say yes or no right now. I want you to think about it before answering."
This will give Dad (or Mom) time to consider what you want, and also make you look more mature by showing that you are patient enough to wait a day for the reply.
8. Stage your requests carefully
Setting the stage for any question you want to pop is a key to increasing the odds for "Yes"! Follow these rules for shifting things in your favor:
-Make sure the person you're asking is in a good mood. Stressed parent = "No!"
-Make sure they have time: "Mom, do you have a minute?"
9. "No" doesn't always mean no
So you asked for something and they said no. This is not perfect, but it's not the end of the world, either.
Figure out why! Figure out the reason they turned you down and then ask what you have to do to make it a "Yes." If you get a general, unhelpful response, dig further: "OK, you want me to be more mature. I want that too. How can I show you that?"
Your persistence will most likely not be annoying or be regarded as questioning your parent's authority; It will actually be seen as an adult way of taking responsibility and going after what you want.
10. Remember: Your parents want to give you things!
Yes, they do! Your parents love you and look for opportunities to make your life better. They need to feel that you appreciate and deserve what you get. Learn how to ask and you will be rewarded.
For more tips, get three chapters of my upcoming book, How to Get Your Parents to Agree with You on Almost Everything, free!