High school kids sitting on steps on their iPhones to represent products they have convinced their parents to buy for them.Creativity

How To Convince Your Parents To Say Yes To You

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As a kid you are probably trying to get your parents to say yes to you many times a day. How’s it working out for you? If you find it difficult to convince Mom and Dad of the things you want it is because you’ve never been taught how to do it right.

Recently, scientists in the field of social psychology have made startling insights into what really makes people say yes to us. Only a few of the top salespeople are aware of these findings. Mom and Dad probably don’t know about them either. And that’s what will make this even more successful for you.

You see, when people are not aware that someone is trying to get them to say yes, they let down their guard. And will feel as if they willingly made the decision. Your parents will not know that your effort and influence went into getting them to say yes to you. It works brilliantly this way.

Why Your Parents Appear Stubborn And Don’t Say Yes To You More Often

Sad doll dressed like a clown in a straw basket to represent a child being told no by their parents.

It’s frustrating to mostly get a no from your parents every time you ask them for something. There two main reasons why they say no:

Your parents love you and care about your well-being, but they think they are the experts when it comes to what’s good for you. When you ask them for something, it is an idea you are proposing. People are naturally biased towards ideas that are not their own. So, they look for reasons to say no, and turn you down.

Another reason is related to the way most of us ask for things. We do it directly and force our parents to reason with us. Psychologists have shown that when people are made to reason, they tend to argue and resist. This is a big reason why Mom and Dad default to saying no.

The Trick To Convincing Your Mom And Dad To Say Yes To You

People never make decisions based on their conscious reasoning. We do it based on our subconscious thoughts and feelings.

So the trick to convincing your parents to say yes is to ask indirectly. And to first get their subconscious minds altered in your favor so they are more likely to say yes to you. If you are dealing with particularly stubborn parents, this is the only way to persuade them.

We will go over this below in more detail so you find out how easy it is to use on your parents.

This is a powerful approach. Always be honest with your parents. There will still be some things that they say no to. You have to accept their decision knowing that they genuinely care for you. Using any of this deceptively will backfire on you.

1. First Do Something For Your Parents

Two hands holding a small gift wrapped with a yellow ribbon to show that you can give something to your parents first to get them to say yes to you later.

This is one of the easiest ways to make your parents feel like wanting to do something for you even before you ask. Give them something first. It does not have to be physical. But it must be genuine and meaningful.

If you plan to ask your parents for a favor one evening, build some goodwill in the morning. If you see them rushing to get to work, offer to clean the dishes or walk the dog. Or just go up to them and thank them for something they did for you. Tell them it meant so much to you that you needed to hug them. You can even make them a special card.

The thing is that when people get a gift, they feel a subconscious desire to pay back the favor. So in the evening or the next day when you ask for something this will motivate them to say yes to you. Or at least it will get them to listen to your case and give it a better chance.

2. Make Them Compare Your Request To Something Even Bigger

Silhouette of a parent and baby elephant against an orange sun setting against a yellow sky.
Photo by supakitmod/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

When people are unsure about a decision, they tend to look around them for clues and guidance. Often, that takes the form of a comparison to something that is fresh in their mind.

Say you ask your parents for something that costs $50. When they evaluate the item and cost, they have nothing to compare it to. They will likely turn you down saying it is too expensive.

Do this instead. First talk to them about any product that costs $500. Don’t say you want it. Just bring it up in conversation but make sure you mention the price. Then after some time, ask them for the $50 item you want.

Now when they think about the $50 price, they are forced to compare it to an amount of $500. They now view $50 as a smaller amount. This is called anchoring and it uses the contrast principle. You anchored your parents to a price of $500 making your $50 item seem cheap. Now they are more likely to say yes.

Advanced MBAs use this in sales and marketing all the time. If you learn the contrast principle and anchoring early, you will be one step ahead of most people the rest of your life. You’re welcome.

3. Convince Your Parents To Think Past The Sale

There is a useful way to make someone more likely to do something. Get them to think about what it would be like if they had already said yes to you.

Say you want your parents to get you a dog. Before making the request, you want to get them to think about what it might be like if your family already had a dog. You could say, “Dad, what kind of dog do you think would be good for our family given that given that no one is home most afternoons?” To answer this, he must imagine your family with a dog. The more your parents think about what it might be like to have a dog, the more likely they will be to say yes.

Girl standing in front of a pink ice cream truck. The word cream has been misspelled as crime on the truck. She got her parents to say yes to taking her out for ice cream.

It’s called thinking past the sale. If a person spends time contemplating something, their mind will be more willing to accept it as a possible choice. This won’t always make your parents say yes, but it will tilt the odds of getting a yes in your favor.

4. Remind Them Of The Limited Time They Have With You

When you are trying to get anyone to say yes to you, it does not matter that much on what you say to them when you ask. It is all about what they feel and experience just before you make your request. That’s why most kids know not to ask when Mom or Dad are worked up or stressed.

But if you change how your parents feel, you can convince them to say yes to you even more.

Scarcity

People place a much higher value on something that is scarce or not going to be around for long. In your case, that something is you. Remind your parents how little time they have left with you. They will feel more fond of you and feel like giving you more stuff.

It is best to be indirect. Casually bring up the topic of where you are thinking of going to college. This will automatically remind them of the limited time they have with you. Whatever you ask them in the next few hours will meet less resistance.

Group of high school seniors at a graduation ceremony wearing green gowns and caps.

5. Ask For Something Small First: Commitment And Consistency

There are times when your parents might consider giving you something but might be a little hesitant. In those cases, you can try a persuasion technique called commitment and consistency.

Here you want to first get your parents to agree to a smaller, but related item. When they get committed to the cause for something small, they will feel a need to be consistent with this choice for future situations as well.

Say you want them to get you a dog. That’s a big commitment for you and them. If you directly ask for a puppy, they may say no. So you first ask for a pet that is easy to look after. Fish or a guinea pig might work.

They now view themselves as parents who get their kids a pet. A few weeks or months later when you ask for a dog, they will feel an inner need to be consistent with their previous stand – that of parents that get their children pets – and they will find themselves more willing to take a bigger step with a dog.

If you are trying to get your parents to let you go out on a date, first ask them to let you go out with a bunch of your friends some evenings. When you build some trust with them and get back home on time, they will be used to the idea of you going out and being responsible. So, when they consider you going out with someone alone on a date, they will be more willing to say yes.

Teenage boy opening the door of a white car for his girlfriend who is sitting in the car.

6. Make Your Parents Think The Idea Is Theirs

Your parents think they know best about what’s good for you. Sometimes that is true but not always. So, they might end up saying no to you mostly because the suggestion is coming from you and not them.

Before you pitch your idea to your Mom and Dad, get them to be a part of the plan itself. Even if they are involved in a small way, they will view it as coming jointly from the family. And not just some child’s idea.

Young girl looking at her iPhone that she convinced her parents to say yes to.

This is the reason your parents like their IKEA or other furniture they have assembled. All of the hard work was done by IKEA. Your parents just put it together. But that is enough for them to rave about their IKEA furniture. Because they played a role in the final furniture, they come to like it more. And they will do the same if they feel the idea also came from them.

7. Admit To A Mistake You’ve Made Or Something You’ve Done Wrong

Face of a brown dog with a black nose and brown eyes looking sad.

You will think this is worst thing to do just before you ask for something. But admitting to some mistake you have made in the past — without your parent’s finding out on their own — actually makes your parents trust you more. If they know you will come forward to them on your own if you make a mistake, they will be much less resistant to giving you things.

The biggest reason your parents may not let you out on a date, buy you a car or a phone, or some fancy new toy is because they may not fully trust you. And they want you to be safe and stay out of trouble. But if you find ways to let them know that you are honest with them, even when it hurts you, they will open all doors for you. Trust is the key to getting things. Do whatever you can to earn it.

Why This Works And Gets Your Parents To Say Yes To You More

Generally, your parents default to saying no to you. If you argue and cry, you might convince them once in a way. But if you work on their subconscious minds before you even ask them for something, they don’t realize your role in the convincing. They feel they have made the decision on their own and still feel in charge.

If people feel someone is actively getting them to do things, it bothers them and they start to say no. If you work below the radar you can preemptively remove reasons that they may say no to you. You trigger an automatic response in them to start saying yes to you much more.

Some Advice For Specific Requests To Your Parents

As you use the advice here keep in mind the most important thing — you should always be truthful. No making stuff up. Using any of this deceitfully will end up hurting you and the trust your parents have in you. Without trust, you will get little. No matter what psychological approach you try.

Girl dressed in blue jeans and brown top, smiling and holding school books standing in front of a white board with equations.

Your biggest lesson from this should be that to get things from your folks, you need to give first. Give them honesty, love, appreciation, and honor their requests to you. If you promise them something, keep your word. Just doing this will result in lots more coming to you from them. And usually will come without you even asking.

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If they still say no to something, don’t throw a fit. Stay calm and accept the decision. They could be right this time. Save yourself for another day and some other request. If you make a big scene every time you are told no, they will feel justified to keep saying no to you.

Based on what we have learned above, here are some approaches to take for certain things you are asking your parents for.

How To Convince Your Parents To Buy You A New Phone Or Laptop

First get them to be a part of the plan before you ask for the new iPhone. If any of your schoolwork would be easier to do with this phone or laptop, make sure you let them know this.

Since convincing your parents for a new phone will mean getting them to spend a large sum of money, use the technique of anchoring described above. If you are trying to convince them to get you an expensive phone model, anchor them to an even higher priced item.

How To Get Your Parents To Say Yes To Buying You A Car

If you are old enough to drive and want your parents to get you a car, you are close to going off to college. Before you ask for a car, work on their emotional state. Remind them of the little time they have left with you. Work for a summer or two first. Show them that you are willing to bear some of the cost.

How To Convince Your Parents To Get You A Dog Or Pet

First get your mother and father to emotionally want a dog. If they had dogs when they were young, get them to tell you stories about their puppy. Ask them for old pictures of their dog. As they relive these memories, they will want the same for you and will be more willing to get you a dog.

If you need to convince your parents to get a dog if they did not have one growing up, then, try a bit of commitment and consistency. First get a small, easy-to-look-after pet. Show them you have what it takes to look after a small pet and they will be more likely to say yes to a dog.

How To Get Your Parents To Say Yes To Going On A Sleepover

For a sleepover, the main thing is trust for getting your parents to say yes. Keep your word and build trust for a long time. Admit to a mistake or two. Use commitment and consistency with them. Start small. First ask for playdates with this friend. Get Mom and Dad used to the idea of you hanging out with her or him.


Shaun Mendonsa, PhD is an influencing expert and pharmaceutical development leader. He writes on the topics of influence and persuasion, and develops next generation drugs in human pharma by advising international pharmaceutical CROs and CMOs. He can be reached at smendonsa@master-influencer.com.


KEYWORDS

How to get your parents to say yes to you, Convince your Mom and Dad of something, How to persuade your parents, Convincing a stubborn parent, Persuasion, Influencing, Anchoring, Contrast principle, Reciprocity, Loss aversion, Commitment and consistency, iPhone, Car, Dog, Sleepover

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91 replies »

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  1. Am trying to get a new game but my dad keeps saying later or tomorrow but he never has to to buy it what should I do?

    • Thanks for writing. You are already in a good place since you have the initial “yes.” What you need to focus on is motivating your Dad to act on his promise.

      So far, if he has agreed to buy the game verbally, try getting him to write his commitment in some form. Your Dad will be more likely to honor his written commitment than his verbal one. The next time he is away and sending a text is appropriate, try and get him to text back his agreement.

      Get him to commit to a specific time of the day.

      Have him “think past the sale” by talking about things you would do if you already had the game. Such as, “I’m really looking forward to this weekend. I’ll be able to play XYZ game with my friends.”

      Right now, his task is buying the game. And it is easy for him to postpone as he has no fondness for the game. Reframe his task to one of making his child happy and less about the game. “Dad, you’re going to make me so happy because this is an amazing game and everyone loves it.”

      If the game has a limited-time discount price, or is in limited supply, remind him of this so he is motivated to act quickly.

  2. So I want my mom and dad let me get Instagram but they said that I am only 11 and my sis has it and she is only 2 years older than me I am mad and sad

  3. Seriously? Great idea to help kids be master manipulators. That’s exactly what we need – more manipulative, selfish people in the world.

    Why not teach kids that their parents pretty much sacrifice their lives for their kids. If parents don’t think they can afford something or don’t want to get a dog, why not teach kids to be respectful and leave it alone instead of trick them?

    • Most adults are unable to persuade people around them (family and colleagues) successfully. The earlier this skill is taught to us, the better. As with similar powers like martial arts, they must be used ethically.

  4. Will this work because i need to go christmas shopping, and she always says maybe later and then i ask her again a couple days later and still the answer is no, and it’s getting so close to christmas!

    • It will surely help your odds of success. Try to get you Mom to commit to the day and time of the trip in writing (text).

      Get her to think that this is more about making you happy and less about the item. She will be more likely to get it for you if she realizes how it makes you feel.

      Have her think past the sale – Talk about the plans you have when you get this item. Let her visualize your joy.

  5. I’m trying to get my mom to let me go over my dad’s house for Christmas. I have no idea what to say and it’s like my mouth is sealed shut whenever I’m around her

  6. Bro i go to walmart with my brother and friends, but i want to go to winco which is only a little bit farther away and i dont know how to ask my dad, any thoughts?

  7. Are you crazy, do you know what this is doing to the kids?! My kids are already bad enough they don’t need to be using this to! Now I want this website down within 24 hours or im gonna find you and sue you got it?!

    • This is a tough one. Poshmark has age restrictions and minors are not allowed to use it. Your best bet is if your parents sell stuff for you.

      If that is an option, try getting them sold on the idea of making money on some of their unwanted stuff on Poshmark. If they see the benefit, they may help you sell your stuff too (commitment and consistency).

  8. I got an Echo Dot for my birthday but my dad doesn’t trust it. He thinks it over hears conversations and sells information. I need an internet passcode to set it up and he won’t give it to me because he thinks it isn’t safe. How do I convince him?

      • I think your Dad is right, they do listen in and use your information for profit. But there are a few things you could try to get him to allow you to use it.

        1) Build his trust in you in other ways. Take on other areas of responsibility so he views you as trustworthy.

        2) Consistency. Ask him to let you use the Echo Dot while he is around for short periods. If he sees you using it responsibly, he could be more open to the idea of you using it later.

        3) Social proof. In subtle ways, make him aware of other kids your age who are using similar devices.

        In the end, your Dad knows best. You may have to trust his judgement on this.

      • READ CAREFULLY I think I can help if your still there #1 do you’r chores with no complain #2 have good grades #3 be good for a week sit them down it the living room and ask if it doesn’t go through don’t worry PLAN B READ CAREFULLY you can either be ok never get it or storm off do this at night refuse to eat say I’m not hungry then they should ask you why say I have good grades I do my chores I was nice what do I get out of this all I want is ———- hope it works I’ve told several people normally they had success

  9. Thanks! However, I need to say something. NEVER consider Guinea Pigs a good starter pet. They live a LONG time, need to be in pairs of groups, and are crazy expensive and underated if you give it good care. No pet should be viewed as a starter pet-try a Spider Plant.

    • If your Dad has promised he will do something for you but has not yet done so, here are some tips to help.

      1) Try and get your Dad to make the commitment to you again in writing. Text him about what you want and try to get him to reply back his promise. He will be more likely to keep his promise if he has written it out to you.

      2) Remind him of things that you (or he) would lose or miss out on if he does not keep the promise.

      3) Thank him of the things he has done for you in the past (and promises kept). He will be reminded that he has to live up to this reputation. And will be more likely to do more for you in the future.

  10. Hi, I thought the article was great but I have a question. So I’m turning 13 this year and I want to buy a pair of heels however, my parents have set a limit on heel height(1.5 in). My mom has let me wear her heels(4 in) that were even higher then the one’s I want that are 2.5 inches. I’ve asked them why not and they haven’t given me any reasons. What techniques do you think will persuade my parents the most?

    • Perhaps they are afraid of letting go of their small child and see heels as a sign you’re all grown up. Get them used to the idea that you will be around them for a lot longer. After school, if you plan on staying around at a nearby college, emphasize that.

      Can also try social proof. When appropriate, let them see as many of your friends who are wearing 2-3 in heels. No need to specifically mention the shoes/heels; let it be indirect like getting your friends to walk on hardwood floors.

      Let them know what you are missing out on (emotionally also) by not being able to wear the heels you want.

      When your Mom wears her 4 in heels, compliment her look (but don’t mention the shoes or heels). Maybe tell her she looks so much more confident or like a much younger person.

  11. My dad who I have him to the point to where he has trust in me and says “Maybe,” to buying a bunny but it has been a whole year, and still no bunny. What should I do?

    • To get your Dad to keep his previous commitment try getting him to write it down. An easy way is if you can get him to text back to you when he plans to get you a bunny. People are more likely to keep their word if they write it down.

      Remind your Dad of previous things he promised you and where he followed through. Give him a good reputation to live up to based on his previous behavior.

      Keep doing things that promote trust in you and demonstrate that you will look after/clean up for the bunny. Make sure you are doing chores around the house. At least your own room.

      Don’t just talk about positive aspects of having a bunny. Mention something that you are missing out on by not having a bunny. Possibly bring up the fun a bunny-owning friend of yours has shared with you.

      Importantly, give the bunny a name. It gets your Dad to think past the sale. When talking about the bunny, use this name frequently. Act as if the bunny is coming soon and start talking about the things you will do with it.

    • READ CAREFULLY I think I can help if your still there #1 do you’r chores with no complain #2 have good grades #3 be good for a week sit them down it the living room and ask if it doesn’t go through don’t worry PLAN B READ CAREFULLY you can either be ok never get it or storm off do this at night refuse to eat say I’m not hungry then they should ask you why say I have good grades I do my chores I was nice what do I get out of this all I want is ———- hope it works I’ve told several people normally they have success

      ———= what ever you want but just saying animals are a lot of work I have 6 that’s mine w all together have about 72 i feed all of em 1 to 3 is ok though still a lot of work

  12. I really want to customize my laptop but my parents say no as it is still theirs. What should I do because I never get anything. It’s always a “no or maybe” but it never ends up well. I’m in a really tough place and all I want is to put some stickers or somethin on here. Please help me

    • Try putting stickers/customization that has more to do with your parents than you. Maybe something nice about them. After a while, if they are used to you changing things, they would be more willing to let you try out your own things.

      If you plan to ask their permission to customize the laptop, choose the moments well. Wait for a time when they are happy with something you’ve done.

  13. BTW this has helped me a bit. Great use of words. I really understand it. Also I hope everyone here that sees this has an awesome life and have some good luck. Everyone here is amazing

    • Glad to hear this helped you. It’s not so important to get everything you ask for from your parents. More important to learn persuasive skills at an early age. Then use it as you grow older to get things in life (jobs, promotions).

  14. I’m trying to get my parents to let me play a game, I told them I will buy it, but they still said no. The game is rather violent but nothing a haven’t seen. What can I do to let them say yes I’m my situation?

    • (this is the same person who wrote this btw) My parents use this website called commonsensemedia, and it heavily exaggerates what’s in the game in a negative way. They only use this website and don’t even care for a second opinion