Lois and Joel Davitz
Learn to substitute some other behavior for nagging whenever you get the impulse to nag. Parents can use a wide variety of substitutes when the impulse to nag occurs. One parent decided to say something complimentary to her son whenever she felt like nagging him. At first her substitute compliments seemed forced and artificial to both her son and herself, but they realized that she was sincerely trying to break a long-established habit, and they accepted this initial awkwardness. After awhile, the substitute behavior became more and more natural, and the frequency of her nagging decreased dramatically.
Parents who go through this process of stopping their nagging almost always report certain positive consequences. Perhaps the most important and the most rewarding consequence is the decrease in family stress. The number of arguments drops sharply, and both parents and their [children] have a chance to learn how to live together without the irritation of petty bickering.
An interesting result we have noticed on a number of occasions is a change in the [child’s] behavior that had been the focus of nagging. The [child], for example, who has been nagged about not doing homework begins to do the work after the parents stop nagging about it. This suggests that sometimes nagging actually provokes the undesired behavior.
All parents dislike nagging their children. However, it is sometimes difficult to find a reasonable alternative that will propel children to do what needs to be done. Here are some tips for getting action out of your communications with your children.
Excerpted from the book, "How to Live (Almost) Happily with a Teenager". Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net