for release Friday August 12, 2005
by Melodie Davis
How To Beg Your Parents (Or Not)
It’s back to school time. I know what a busy shopping time it is. My kids always looked forward to buying all their supplies. And when they go off to college, well then the shopping list is even longer and more expensive.
When we have to struggle just to pay for basic needs of our children, every family wrestles with what happens when kids inevitably want the extras. A new video game or the hardware to play it. Pierced ears (or more). The $150 sneakers.
It’s an age old question that you faced as a kid or teen too: How could you get your parents to let you have or buy something you knew they were probably opposed to (or couldn’t afford). Even Cain and Abel (obviously) had conflict—and probably at one time or another begged their parents for something not available in the Garden of Eden. (Okay, so they were already cast out of the garden by the time Cain and Abel came along, but you get my point.)
Sometimes it isn’t so much something to buy—a kid wants permission to go somewhere, or to wear a specific type of clothing.
I grew up in the dark ages when all girls wore dresses to school. Even around home, I was not permitted to wear pants. My sister could wear pants because she worked more out in the barn and on the farm. Eventually the school rules were changed but I still wasn’t allowed, which presented more inner conflict. How I hated being different! I don’t remember how much I begged, but I do know it was an issue. Then, a tornado tore through our county. School was released for a day for all the kids to help in clean up. Mom and Dad bought me my first pair of jeans so that I could be dressed appropriately to help with clean up!
At a church youth convention recently, kids could post their responses or write graffiti on giant billboards in response to the question above about how to beg. The comments provide a wonderful insight to the minds of kids today (and an instantly written column to help out a vacationing writer!). Whether they wrote their ideas seriously or with tongue greatly in cheek, here, without any extra commenting or editorializing on my part, are their responses to the full question: How do you ask your parents for something you really want, but aren’t sure they’ll give you?
Find justification: “The radar detector will keep me from getting pulled over, which will keep your insurance down.”
You butter them up, and then you ask them.
Ask very nicely and if they don’t give it to you and it means a lot, save up money and buy it yourself. That is of course if your parents approve of what you are buying.
Give them all the reasons why you’re asking and give reasons why their argument isn’t that big of an issue. Then ask. Be calm and reasonable.
Blackmail them. Never fails.
I ask my Dad.
Say, “I’m a good kid and I do things for you.”
Guilt them into it.
Give them good news first about you, suck up to them, and then ask and don’t forget please.
My parents hate me and would never give me anything.
Tell them it will further your Christian growth.
“Hey Mom, you know that I love you.”
Practice good behavior for a week and then ask.
Give them the puppy-eye look.
Ask them when they’re in a good mood.
I offer money.
I quiver my chin.
Please, please, please, please.
I tell my dad I’ll visit him an extra day when he gets to the nursing home.
This column is intended more as advice to parents (beware when they try this on you) than as advice for kids (please don’t try this at home), but I invite response from either!
Write to me at: Another Way, Box 22, Harrisonburg Va., 22802, or e-mail email@example.com (Please include your paper's name in your response.)
You can also visit Another Way on the Web at www.thirdway.com.
Melodie Davis is the author of seven books and has written her column since 1987. She taught feature writing and has won awards from the National Federation of Press Women, Virginia Press Women and the American Advertising Association. She and her husband have three daughters.
NOTES TO EDITORS: text = 701 words; end material = 105 words
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