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.

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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.

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


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


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

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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.


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.


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.


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.


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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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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


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