Help me stop nagging! - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 6 Old 06-13-2009, 02:38 AM - Thread Starter
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Okay. I so totally believe in natural consequences and for all of my son's nearly 6 years, we've done maybe two time outs, while the rest of discipline has been heavily influenced by positive discipline, natural consequences ideas (in intent, if not always in practice). Mostly, we have a pretty okay set of structures, routines, lots of play, healthy limits, etc. I don't feel like we have any huge over-arching discipline issues. But.

But somehow, I've noticed in myself that I have allowed myself to get into a really yucky dynamic with my son. I nag. I nag and he doesn't listen. And it is driving me totally crazy. Mostly, its about morning-before-school routines or getting-to-bed routines. He is an amazing kid ... gets very lost in his own play, projects, etc. and I do believe that a lot of the time, he truly doesn't "hear" me or is too engrossed to fully register. But too, I believe that he has come to rely on my nagging ... knowing that I don't actually mean it "the first time." Yucky yucky yucky. I never imagined I'd be in that spot of saying, "I've asked you five times ..." -- I always imagined myself the parent who could say it once, enforce it consistently and that would be that.

ha! Not.

So ... I do believe that the way to stop is to actually "mean it" the first time. And to tell him there will be shift in rules and it'll feel different for a while until we both get used to it. But I'm finding it really hard to allow figure out the appropriate natural consequence and then, to allow them to speak for themselves.

For example -- tonight (like many many nights), as the kids were getting ready for bed (our kids sleep in the same double futon and when I'm alone with the kids, we read stories together instead of one with e/parent), I told my son to get his pajamas on. 10 minutes later, he's still in his clothes, picking at his toes, pretending his arms are an airplane, lying on his bed tossing a pillow, whatever -- it could be anything. As I usually do, I said more sternly, "Pajamas!" He looks at me -- makes a half-hearted gesture towards them while I'm in the doorway. 3 minutes later I check in ... shorts are off and he's frittering his time. I say, "Elijah, I do not like that you are not listening. I said, pajamas!"

So ... finally, I gave him an ultimatum (after this went on at least one more round) ... "if your pajamas aren't on by 9:10, then we won't have stories." Ugg. I love story time. He loves stories. I don't like to use that in any punishing way.

But ... so, on this example, would this be what you'd do: "pajamas on by X time and whoever is ready, will have stories?" Then how would you enforce it? Lets say I did that and he came out of the room and tried to listen? It just starts feeling so mean ... do I then get into a battle of him not staying in his room while I read to his mostly compliant-on-getting-to-bed-issues three year old sister?

And this example could be anything ... coming up for breakfast, leaving the house to go to the park, etc. He is SUCH the dawdler.

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#2 of 6 Old 06-14-2009, 12:42 PM
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In the same boat! I've been noticing that I've been nagging, and then when the children don't listen to me, I speak sharply (not yell) which I don't like.

So I sat them down the other day and told them that I noticed I had been doing this, and I didn't like it. And the deal was, I would work really hard NOT to do it, but they had to listen to me the first time I asked them to do something. If they wanted to wait until they finished a puzzle or something, they could ask if they could finish first, but if I said yes, they'd have to remember to do it on their own, and no, they'd have to do it right away. This was primarily directed at my 5 yr old.

Then I said if I had to bring it up a second time, it was an automatic time out. For my oldest, if he has a time out once a quarter, that's a lot. We all agreed that was fair. And since then, it's been much better. Now my 3 yr old is still 3 - and as I write this I cannot get him to come upstairs and get dressed... so it's time for me to go fetch him and get him dressed. But for older kids, I think it's reasonable.

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#3 of 6 Old 07-01-2009, 09:18 PM
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Wondering how it's going? I struggle with the same thing. I can hardly believe that I fit the description of a "nag"! How did this happen? I can relate to so much of what you said here, OP.

I wonder sometimes if all of my attempts at positive discipline, talking about our feelings, processing, etc. lead to me to expect different results by this time. I never had that idea in mind as I was going along, it just felt natural. But now my patience is running a bit thin with rudeness, sassiness and overall unpleasant behaviors.

I've also struggled with what consequences make sense. But it seems like nothing really sinks in without some kind of consequence. Curious how it's going!
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#4 of 6 Old 07-01-2009, 09:32 PM
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I've been working on this with my 5yo. It's usually in the mornings when it's time for him to get dressed. I've told him I don't like having to nag and I'm only going to ask him once. As I'm getting in the shower I tell him that he needs to be dressed by the time I get out. If he's not dressed then he won't have time to watch a little tv or play on the computer before we go.

When I get out of the shower if he is in the process of getting dressed I let it slide. If he hasn't budged I turn off the tv and tell him when he is dressed and if we have time he can turn it back on.

I remind him the longer he takes to get dressed the less time he has for tv.

At night this happens, too, and I hate to take away book time. So, I just simply tell him we'll only have time for one book instead of two (or two instead of three, etc. - just depends on how much time we have for books). This usually gets him going pretty quick. Also, if I totally cut out books it makes it harder for him to transition to rest/sleep so I try my hardest to not take away the books altogether.
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#5 of 6 Old 07-01-2009, 10:45 PM
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Hmmm...this is so me as well. I have to say things at least five times for my now 6yo to listen and I swear it is because he has become so accustomed to me telling him five times. He just waits until I get to the ultimatum part. There are some good ideas here, would love to hear more.

Novel writing student Mama to ds (8y) and new DD 1-13-10.

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#6 of 6 Old 07-02-2009, 03:18 PM
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the example you gave and what you are doing is almost exactly like the example given the book 123 Magic. It is abook about using time outs effectivley. He stresses that time outs only work for behaviors you want your child to stop doing and doesn't work for behavior you want your child to start (like getting dressed) so there are various other chapters in the book devoted to getting your child to do things, includign using natural consequenses. he says that for going to bed if you have certain bedtime, and then a reasonable time to get dressed/teeth/ read/cuddle with parent ect before( I think he uses 30 minutes, but don't quite remember) and your child dawdles to set out this time to them, and reinforce that when the time is up it is bedtime, no matter what . He says that because children love the one on one attention they get at bedtime it takes only a few days of this to realize the quicker they get dressed, the more time to have with the parent, the more they dawdle, the less time they get.
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