Who nags at their kids? What, me? Nagging is… wait a minute. Ok, I nag. But seriously, sometimes it’s like talking to a WALL! A wall that needs to shower and is wearing Kardashian amounts of makeup. No hablas ingles?! It’s probably in the top 10 annoyances of parenting – it is, I checked. You have something super important to communicate like, empty the dishwasher or wake up or do your laundry. And in return….crickets. Why don’t they realize that if they don’t do what you ask that they won’t turn into proper adults who can cook and clean after themselves? Well, we know the answer to this but often forget. I hope you enjoy them.
1. Connect before you correct.
I should get this on a T-shirt, I love it so much. Also because I forget to do it so much! When I come home, after being up at 5am to teach an early morning religious class for teens and then working from 9 to 5, I am hungry and ready to just relax. So of course what awaits when I open the door? Nothing that I have asked to be done! Dishes are still in the dishwasher! Kitty litter is not taken care of! Nobody is making dinner! This is when I would start barking. Not fun, not cool. I forget to connect before I correct. Kids need to know they matter before they will start to
be a slave for you do housework or even listen to you. Our brains don’t learn well when we feel attacked – what a concept! Also, kids are more likely to do what you ask of them if they have a healthy relationship with you – another amazing concept! Sit down on the couch with them and ask them about their day, or go down to their room and say hello. After that, you can start to correct. If you need to do some serious positive self-talk in the car before you step foot in your house then do that. Do what you need to tame the bear.
2. Write it down.
Most teens don’t like their parent’s voices unless it’s to hear an invitation to go shop or eat. Then all of a sudden it’s music. Instead, write it down. The possibilities are endless! Leave a little note by their bed – the funnier the better; this takes the edge off for everyone. You could write it on your whiteboard or chalkboard. This only works if they know to look at it and follow the instructions. Once in a while just leave a joke and see what happens. I could write an entire post on whiteboards (note to self). Get some newsprint and leave a humongous note at the front door! That’ll get their attention. Leave a note in their mittens (for us Northerners), shoes or backpack. And remember to not always have it be a request. Once in a while tell them how cool you think they are or how happy you are that they are in your family. Awwww, so sweet.
3. Short and sweet.
When it comes to asking your kids to do things, the less you talk the better. Not only are they already annoyed that you aren’t inviting them for burgers, but they are gearing up for the lecture. Remind them that they agreed to do something and that it isn’t done. State facts, don’t get all emotional about it. If they still don’t do it, just state a fact in one sentence, “The TV is still on”, and walk away. If you have to use 2 sentences you have to said too much. Think, cave man.
Point you ask? What what? Yes, just point. Most times you can just point to the dishes on the table, the computer that is still on, the clothes that are scattered and that will get them moving. Often this follows or comes before #3. Try it with your teen and see which order he prefers. Again, it takes the emotions out of the equation and it considerably lowers the chance of you lecturing. Win-win.
5. Interpretive dance.
Get creative! It not only helps get their attention but it makes everyone laugh! And when they are laughing they are happy, and when they are happy they aren’t scary and defiant. Keeping things light is a great way to interact with your teen. So no, you don’t have to dance but you could play their favorite music or dress up in a ridiculous costume all evening or say things in a foreign accent. Keep in mind that to be creative means you have to put yourself in the right headspace. When you do that you stand a much better chance of success. So often parenting becomes a negative thing. It’s us saying no or reprimanding bad behaviour. Change. Change it to be something lighter and enjoyable.
I love feedback so please leave comments about how you keep nagging at bay. I also hope you will follow my blog. I still have that need for acceptance – middle child, need I say more? 🙂
My next post is going to be about if and when to invade our teen’s privacy. Keep following.