Alfie Kohn, author of Unconditional Parenting, says before acting, it’s essential to listen to this comment and read behind the lines, then decide what’s the next step:

“The child may be saying something else besides ‘I want an exciting activity,’ or ‘Will you let me go play video games again?’ A child might be saying, ‘I don’t get enough good time with you.’ So we always have to be not just willing to hear what our kids say, but listen to what’s behind the words and listen to whether it’s a one-off or a pattern over time.”

Here’s how 4 other parenting experts say to respond…


Christine Carter
The author of Raising Happiness says parents shouldn’t try to save kids from boredom. Besides, the complaint usually has nothing to do with being bored. Format: Video (1:40)

Mary Ann Zoellner
The co-author of “Sh*tty Moms” doesn’t go for the “I’m so sorry, honey” approach to parenting. Instead, she suggests a modern fix to an age-old whine. Format: Article

Erica Reischer
Parent coach and clinical psychologist Erica Reischer says parents shouldn’t try to fix bad feelings. Do this instead, she advises, and the payoff will be huge.
Format: Video (0:54)

Melissa Taylor
“When my kids say, ‘Mom, I’m bored!’ they hate my answer,” says Pinterest superstar Melissa Taylor. Find out why. Format: Video (0:35)

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