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No Nagging Necessary

RC Steif

Nagging doesn’t really work — unless its purpose is to annoy someone. Yet, it’s all too easy to find yourself doing it. How to get your family to cooperate without a single nag.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

“Mommy, can I get that? Pleeeeeease can I get that? Can I? Can I?” That won’t work on you, you know. Yet, nagging often seems like the only solution when you’re having one of those days — starting with the kid with his head under his pillow, alarm clock blaring, all the way to the dirty plates left on the dinner table, yet again. Well, you think, they didn’t do it the first time I asked; of course I need to repeat myself, probably a little louder too. But that rarely accomplishes the goal — and even if it does, what’s the cost? The good news is, you don’t have to live this way. Here are practical approaches to eight common nagging “black holes” so you can eradicate that disturbing habit for good.  Help kids kick unpleasant habits with colors, using the Red and Green Learning System. Follow these six steps: 1. Label behaviors as red (negative) or green (positive), and call them by the color. Thus, “slurping” is red; “drinking quietly” is green. 2. Take pictures of the child posing in both negative and positive stances (e.g., a picture of a wide mouth with hand-drawn lines to symbolize loud chewing and a picture of a closed mouth to symbolize no sound effects). 3. Model the red and green behaviors, so your child knows what you mean. 4. Have the child practice the red and green behaviors, so he can compare the two and pick up on differences. Also, make sure he knows how to do the green behavior properly. 5. Reinforce green behaviors. For instance, reward with immediate praise and a tangible treat. (Think small: a sticker, nickel, etc.) 6. Turn to corrections or consequences, as a last resort (e.g., take the drink away from a slurping child for one minute). Discuss consequences with your child in advance, so he knows to aim for the reward, and what to expect should he continue the red behavior. 

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