Please Is Not A Magic Word


I have a little bit of a bone to pick with the word “Please” as it’s snuck its way into my house lately and it’s getting on my very last nerve.

“Please” is a nice enough word in itself, it’s reasonably innocuous, but when it’s used as though it has power, then it starts to grate on me a little.

Particularly when it’s used in the sentence;


Or she’ll test it out at various pitches and volumes. “Please, please, PLEASE!!!!! Please…please… PLEASE!!! Pleeaaassssseeeeeee”

I hate it. Hate it! I’d be perfectly happy if she never said “Please” again. The word has lost all meaning to me. 

It doesn’t change anything, it’s not an argument in itself, it’s not currency – you cannot exchange it for goods and services – it’s just a word.

I’m not against manners. I quite like them, but I don’t think that “Please”is the be all and end all of being polite.

You know what I think is actually incredibly rude?

The times when people have held something above my child’s head, refusing to give it to them, until they say please – like they’re a puppy who needs to perform a trick to receive a treat.  You wouldn’t do this to an adult, so why is it okay to do this to my children? On one occasion that this happened I even explained to the adult that my son couldn’t actually talk yet – but this apparently wasn’t a good enough excuse for him not to say please first.


I think giving that much emphases to one little word makes no sense. Especially after hearing loud and clear that “Please” really isn’t always polite! Obviously she’d still probably be whining SOMETHING at me, if not the word “please”, because she’s 4, it’s what they do, but it has really made me re-think the importance of the word. 

Do you enforce the word “Please” in your house?

And if your child keeps wailing “Please” at you, have you managed to make them stop?

Rachel Stewart

Rachel is the founder of Parenting Central. She is raising two children, boy and girl, with her partner. Rachel is obsessed prams, car seats, carriers and all things baby. She has worked in the baby industry for several years, for both suppliers and also in a retail setting and has developed a passion for connecting parents with the right products to make their lives easier. When Rachel isn't playing with prams she's enjoys crocheting, drinking coffee (sometimes wine) and spending a little too much time on Facebook.


  1. I’m not against manners either, but I also hate “please” as a tool to get your way.

    My very spoiled cousin thought “please” could get him anything. You see, he was like 3 or 4 and he watched cartoons with shoehorned, forced-down-your-throat-whether-you-like-it-or-not “aesops” about being “polite.”

    “Magic word”, they said. And there he went believing “please” was actually magical, as in a magic spell that got you free stuff.

    I had to make an important project for uni (as in not finishing = failing the class) and
    … “I wanna play!!!!!! It’s my turn now!!!”

    Me: “i’m working, so NO.”

    Him: “Pleeeeeeeeeeeeeease….”

    Me: “No”

    Him: * Starts saying please a lot * “BUT THIS IS THE MAGIC WORD! WHAT HAPPENED TO MY SPEEEEEEEELL!”

    I dragged him out while he was crying because his spell didn’t work, making movements with his hands to “cast” it again.

    Stupid child friendly shows that got the idea in his idea…

    1. Exactly and it’s entirely unfair to teach children that saying “please” is the difference between a yes and a no. If I say “no” then I mean no. No amount of “please” will change that. Asking nicely (once) goes a LONG way, but please has nothing to do with it.

      She doesn’t do it so much any more thankfully (it’s been about 7 months), I guess she’s gotten the impression now that shouting please won’t get you what you want.

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