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Al Menconi - Fight Being A Nag - 7/15

  • Al Menconi
  • 1999 15 Jul
Al Menconi - Fight Being A Nag - 7/15
How do you talk to your kids? Do you find yourself constantly correcting and instructing? "Pick up your clothes." "Put that away!" "Don't do that!" "Do this!" "Don't wear that!" "Sit up straight!" "Lean over your plate!" "Turn that off!" "Quit listening to that!" "Please be quiet!" etc.!

Do you find that the more you instruct, the more they pull away from you? Why? You only want the best for them! Besides, if you don't constantly correct and instruct, they're libel to mess up, right? Will they?

Let's put it in a different context. How about if your spouse constantly "instructed and corrected" you in the way you talk to your children. What would be your response? "Quit nagging!"

Did you ever notice that when we correct others, it's for their own good? But when we are corrected, it's nagging? Maybe your children see you as a nag. Do you want to be around someone who nags you? Me neither. You may have positive intentions, but your child sees it as a negative. Maybe that's why your child hides out in his room listening to his music all the time.

If you don't "correct" them, how are they going to know what to do and how to behave? I'm not suggesting that you never discipline and instruct your child. But I can offer a suggestion as you do. Counter-balance every negative "instruction" with ten positive reinforcements. This step has proven to be the best way to keep communication open. Think about it, it's usually the other way around -- one positive for every ten negatives.

Evaluate your conversations with your child. How many "I'm proud of you," "I believe the best for you," "I'm glad you're my child," etc., pepper your words -- as compared to "Take out the trash," "Do your homework," "Mow the lawn," etc. Which leads me to my next question.

Does every conversation you have with your kids end up in a fight? Do you ever listen to yourself talk to your kids? Do you raise your voice? Do you understand that most children consider a raised voice an attack? And when you raise your voice, do you make statements like "What's wrong with you?" or "If you know what's good for you!" In their eyes and ears you're attacking again.

When you are attacked, if you have any common sense at all, you're going to defend yourself. Then you "attack" in a louder voice and they "defend" in a louder voice. Attack! Defend! Attack! Defend! I don't know about you, but I call that a fight. The trick is to make your point without attacking your child. How do you do that? I thought you would never ask. I'll answer that in next month's commentary.

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