How to Convince Your Parents to Let You Do Anything

Three Parts:Preparing to NegotiateConvincing Your ParentsResponding to No

You and your parents won't always see eye to eye, and sometimes, it can be difficult to convince your parents to let you do something even if you believe you deserve a chance to do it. To convince your parents to let you do anything, you'll need to craft a strong case for the activity in question before even approaching them, then ask about it in a calm, polite tone when your parents are relaxed and able to listen. Give them time and be willing to reach a compromise to help show them that you're mature enough to handle whatever it is you want to do. It's possible the answer will still be "no," but if you do your part to negotiate well, you'll improve your odds of getting that "yes."

Part 1
Preparing to Negotiate

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    Find more information about what you are asking for. Make sure you have a good understanding of what you'll be asking your parents about so that you will have answers for their questions. If it helps you, try writing a few bullet points to help you to remember. Explaining these things that you have found about your topic will help your case. Also, if you are willing and able, consider paying for a portion of the price of something you desire.
    • If you want them to let you have a dog, research how much maintenance the dog will require and how much it will cost to have one. Aside from the actual logistics of it, also research the good points of having a dog, and why it would be great for you and your family.
    • Ignoring the "cons" of the thing you want will not help your case, because most likely your parents will bring up these points to you, and without having the time to think about the "cons" will not look good as you are trying to convince your parents. To prevent this, look up some "cons" of what you are asking for, so you can have some time to think about the "cons".
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    Make sure you have credible sources they can trust. Your parents will consider what you want more if they have some background information on what it is you're asking for. The more familiar they are with it, the less "scary" or "risky" it is, and the more likely they are to say yes. Also, try citing your sources that you use to find information about what you want so your parents can go on the website to do more investigation themselves.
    • For example, if you want to spend the night at someone else's house, make sure your parents have access to your friend's house number, know your friend's parents' names, and know where the house is.
    • If you want a body piercing or tattoo, have the number of the establishment or some reliable websites about the practice itself. It also helps if they know the person you want to sleepover with or if they have seen the tattoo shop before.
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    Write a list of your argument's main points. It's easy to get caught in a shouting match and lose track of the points you wanted to make in the first place. Write down the three or four main things you want to say in convincing your parents. Go back to them during the discussion, emphasize them, and make sure those points have been discussed fully before you move onto less convincing arguments, like, "But I want it!"
    • If you're trying to get a pet, you could easily come up with a handful of points in your favor. It promotes family bonding time, pet owners generally lead longer lives, playing with the pet is a good method of exercise, and it teaches you responsibility. What's not to like?
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    Prepare for questions like, "Is your room clean?" In order to see if you deserve the thing you're asking for, or sometimes to make the argument go away, parents ask their children if they've taken care of their chores and duties beforehand. Prepare ahead of time for these questions by cleaning your room, bathroom, living room, etc., doing your homework, eating your vegetables – whatever it is your parents are constantly asking you about. Not only does it make these questions ineffective, but it proves the point that you actually are responsible.
    • It's a good idea to do these for several days or even a week in advance. If they ask if your room is clean and you say yes, they could easily respond with, "Well, this is the first time it's been clean in a long time." You may have to put in some long-term work for it to be convincing.

Part 2
Convincing Your Parents

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    Pick the right time to approach the subject. Find a time when your parents seem relaxed and happy to have the discussion. It is not a good idea to ask for something when either parent seems stressed or tired, because they might get annoyed easy. Usually, family dinner time is a safe bet.
    • That being said, if mom or dad seemed stress, that could work in your favor if you're asking for a pet. You could point out that people who are attached to a dog or other pet have significantly lower stress levels, blood pressure, and a decreased risk of depression.[1]
    • If you haven't completed something they've asked of you, such as chores or homework, this is not the right time to ask either. It's another easy (and valid) reason for objection, so get those chores done first.
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    Maintain a calm tone during the talk. If you whine or get angry, your parents will likely think you are not mature enough to handle whatever it is you are asking them for. They'll shut down the conversation immediately, insisting that you all talk about it when you're feeling calmer. That or they'll argue that your tone proves that you're not ready. Both are situations you want to avoid!
    • Even if you end up not getting your way, behaving maturely throughout will set the tone for future discussions that may go your way. It may leave them thinking, "Huh, maybe our child really is growing up and becoming mature." You want to leave them wondering if they should've said yes, so when you bring the topic up later, they're warmer to it.
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    Let them know how it benefits them. Many times parents say it's because it's somehow an inconvenience for them. Either it costs them money or time or both. Because you are likely asking for them to do something for you, emphasize that it could also benefit them. Both of you get something out of the situation, so why not?
    • If you're asking for a phone, make it clear that they can use your new number to check up on you. You could even be willing to talk about what happens if you don't answer – maybe you'd get your phone privileges revoked?
    • If you're asking for an extended curfew, emphasize that that means more free time for them. And you could also only get an extended curfew when you can get a ride home from someone else so they don't have to come pick you up.
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    Give them time to think about it. Don't force them to give you an answer right away. Tell them to get back to you in a couple hours or days with any questions or concerns they have. Let them know that you want to discuss this as mature, responsible adults and you are willing to work through any potential issues. Say it like that, and you'll be sure to impress them with how well-rounded and balanced your argument is.
    • It's best to arrange a specific time to talk about it. That way they'll be less likely to respond with "Oh, we haven't discussed it yet," and you won't have the awkward duty of picking a time to bring it up in the future. Instead, saying next week at dinner makes it more concrete and likely to happen.
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    Compromise with them. Work out an agreement that makes both you and your parents happy. Offer to pay for part of the phone bill or do extra chores around the house in exchange. Make sure they are getting something out of this as well. After all, it's likely they're going to end up taking care of part of it, regardless of what it is.
    • If you want a dog, for example, work out a compromise of who is going to take it for walks, feed it, let it out, etc., in addition to who's going to pay for it and the veterinary fees. The responsibility doesn't end with a pet (or a phone) after it's bought, and that's likely what they're worrying about.
    • Come up with stipulations for if you don't hold up your end of the deal, too – if you forget to let Fluffy out a few times, it's goodbye to your late Friday nights or a reduction in your allowance. This shows that you really mean business and are willing to make sacrifices yourself.
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    Write out your reasons. One thing that helps is learning how to write an essay for what you want. These are called persuasive essays. The structure looks like this:
    • Topic Sentence. Transition sentence. Main Point (or thesis statement).
    • Topic Sentence one. Specific evidence: evidence proving why you want this. Explanation of your evidence: what does your example show your parents? Transition Sentence.
    • Topic sentence two. Specific evidence two. Explanation of evidence. Transition sentence.
    • This topic sentence shows an alternate perspective on the subject. The specific evidence proves your topic sentence wrong. Explanation of specific evidence. Transition sentence.
    • Topic Sentence four can explain another perspective or you can leave out paragraph four. Specific evidence four. Explanation of evidence. Transition sentence.
    • Opening conclusion statement. Closing point about your thesis. Closing sentence that restated and reaffirms thesis.
    • If you write this correctly, it can really help your cause.

Part 3
Responding to No

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    Ask them why they're saying no. You can always just ask for reasons of why they aren't letting you do the thing you desire. Sometimes they will give you a valid point and sometimes it won't make sense. As long as you do it in a mature fashion, most parents will be happy to give you reasons. Ask them their concerns and try to address them. This may change their minds if you have a convincing rebuttal.
    • If you can find out why they said no, you can find a way to remove that factor or say it in a way that they will agree to. For example, if you cannot have a phone because they do not think you are old enough, then show them how mature you can be. Pinpointing the reason makes it a lot easier to get to the crux of the issue.
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    Clean up your act. Parents will inevitably take your history of behavior into consideration. Start getting good grades (if you aren't already), do chores around the house without them asking you, and stay out of trouble. Make sure they know that you're responsible enough to get or do that specific thing you're asking about.
    • As mentioned previously, sometimes you may have to put in the time. A couple of days of being on good behavior might not be convincing, but a few weeks? That could do the trick. If you remain patient and diligent, they may see that you're ready for this new responsibility.
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    Be nice to them even though they said no. Don't make it obvious that you're upset. Be kind to them and act as you normally would. They may act like they don't care, but they are smiling inside and it will help you in the long run.
    • It can also start making them feel a little guilty, which may not be a bad thing in this situation. The kinder you are, the more they'll feel bad they said no, which could lead to a change of heart.
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    Write a letter. Sometimes, parents respond better to having an argument written out. Write a convincing and persuading letter that explains to your parents why you deserve what you're trying to get. This looks professional and your parents will be impressed at the mature way you're handling the situation.
    • Make sure it's handwritten and presented nicely. They'll see how much work you put into it and how much it means to you. It's a good start point for showing how much work you're willing to put in later, too. If you put this much work into a letter, maybe you will take care of Fluffy, pick up her poo, and take her for walks when she needs them.
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    Switch up your strategy. If one method of persuasion isn't working, try switching arguments. Don't use the same material over and over again. Showing them that you have lots of great reasons about why you should have what you're trying to get.
    • For example, let's say you're asking for a phone and you started with the logical argument that it's safe – if you ever got in trouble, you could call them. It didn't work, so now you need to switch it up. You could talk about how you need a phone to make friends at school, to get a job or volunteer position, or even that there's a special deal going on right now where you can get one really cheaply. What do you think would work for them?
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    Let it be. Sometimes you have to simply let a decision be for the moment. Simply say, "Okay, thanks for discussing it with me" and walk away. You can try again at another time. Keep showing that you are responsible and your parents might change their minds. After all, you get older and more mature every day.
    • You should broach the topic at a later date, but don't be too rushed with it. If your parents say that you'll talk about it after Christmas, for example, wait until a week or so after Christmas. Respect their wishes and they'll be more likely to respect (and grant) yours.
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    Go small! If you want a dog and they say, no way, that thing is way too big and expensive, keep your cool. If they won't let you have a German Shepherd, ask for a goldfish, or a hamster, something small and easy to take care of. Who knows? You may even be happier with your fishy friend anyway.


  • The week before you ask them, make sure that you did your chores and were respectful towards them. Also remember to tell them the plus side about you getting what you want. Never show your parents any doubt about what you want: always talk with confidence about it.
  • Realize that parents want their children to be safe, and all have different values and viewpoints about the things you may want to do.
  • Listen to why they don't want you to have it. Then tell them why you think it is a good idea. Try to address their concerns to make it sound like you have a stronger point. For example: "Hey, can I get these new shoes?" "No, they won't support your feet." "I can put support grips in the back and add insoles so that my feet will have support, and I will even put some of my money towards it."
  • Before you ask them for something, act mature and responsible for a month before. Pick a time that is good for both of you. However, after they say yes to whatever it is (or say no) don't stop being good. If you get it and then go back to doing whatever you changed, they will not say yes the next time because they know you will immediately stop. If they say no, keep on doing it. If they see that you are continuing to be responsible even though they say no, it will help convince them to change their decision.
  • Do things that they will not expect you to do. That will give the parents the idea that the child will need an award for doing what's right. For example: "Since you have been doing great lately, here is some money." "Mom, I don't want the money, I would like to go to the movies with my friends on Friday, if that's all right with you."
  • Give them time to think about it. Don't ask them constantly like, "Did you think about it yet"?
  • If it is an activity that the whole family can participate in, invite them to do it also. Parents love being included and spending time with you.
  • Don't ask everyday just when your parents are in a good and calm mood. If your parents want to know what you will do show them. For example if you want a dog and your friend has one, ask if you can go on a walk with their dog.
  • Don't throw a fit, and make sure to sound a little disappointed. That way, they know that you actually want whatever you are asking for. Then go back to being happy to show that you're mature. If you act happy, they're more likely to say no, because they'll think you don't really care about it.
  • If it is absolutely important, do it without asking, then ask for forgiveness later. This is for dire situations only, like going on a roadtrip with a friend before he moves to a different country.
  • If your parents say: "Who's going to walk the dog? You? Then you'll walk him morning and night. Even if you have to go to school."

Don't say anything along the lines of: "Um... Maybe not morning..." They will reply: "Then you're not responsible enough."

  • Don't beg too much or even at all because that might encourage them to say no.
  • Speak calm and assertively.
  • If you really want whatever you want, use your manners. If you do get your way don't celebrate then and there by going "thank you thank you thank you!" and going hugging them over and over again. Celebrate in your room, out of earshot, so they don't think your immature. If you don't get your way, don't throw a fit, just say -" thanks for your time" and then run off. It may sound like your immature as well.
  • Once you have asked them you need to be patient when waiting for a response.
  • Don't do anything that could backfire; don't say you'll do something that you know you can't follow up on, because your parents will think you're irresponsible.
  • Shoot big aim low. Do you really want a hamster? Ask for a dog and when they say no, "compromise" with the hamster. If they say yes, you get a dog. It's a win win situation!
  • Know when to back off and stop talking about it, as parents may feel you are immature and naggy if you constantly try and persuade them.
  • Make a Pros and Cons list, that way, you and your parents can see both sides of the argument, and discuss it using that method.
  • Clean your room, most parents won't say yes to a child who has the messiest room in history.
  • Let your parents know what you want and make eye contact while talking to them.
  • Listen. They will have something to say, and you need to show that you're responsible enough to take in their advice and respond respectably. It shows maturity. Handle the conversation as if you are one of the adults.


  • DO NOT KEEP BOTHERING THEM! If you keep asking them, there is a greater chance of them flaunting their power in retaliation by punishing you.
  • Don't argue; This is just going to make it less likely for you to get what you want. Act like a sensible mature adult instead, so your parents don't think you're becoming spoiled or anything like that.
  • Don't assume you will get your way or that you can "wear down" your parents and make them give in. They will just get annoyed and say no. You will gain the most respect by showing respect in return.
  • If they say no, don't go behind their backs. They will sooner or later find out and won't trust you.
  • If they say no, do not complain! Ask why, and try to say how they are wrong in a polite way. For example, if you want a pet and they think it will become their responsibility to care for it, show them how much you want it and reasons that you will care for it!
  • Don't overdo it. Your parents will see right through you if you offer to paint the house.

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Categories: Dealing with Conflict with Parents