Can nagging help children grow up to become their best selves?
Find out if nagging really works as well as other alternative approaches, below.
There's no denying that children need to be guided as much as they need to pushed every once in a while. But can nagging actually help children grow up to be more well behaved? Within reason, there are times when nagging is the only tactic that works. Some kids just won't listen until their mom is close to the breaking point, while some are more behaved than others.
A recent study shed light on the benefits of nagging, saying that moms who nag and have high expectations set their daughters up for success later on in life.
The difference between nagging and motivating
Positive parenting involves positive reinforcement. For starters, motivating kids means praising and rewarding them, instead of nagging, which puts emphasis on criticism and punishment. This is not to say that you don't have to teach them that their actions have consequences, but it only means priority should be placed on the positive side of discipline.
Parents who are motivators instead of naggers phrase instructions in a way that does not make a child feel she is being blamed for bad behavior. Yes, she is responsible for it, but misbehaving does not define her. She is not bad because she did a bad thing. The thing that was done is bad, but she has the power to make it good.
For example, if a child breaks a glass or spill something, a nagger would scold the child saying, "Look what you have done!" A motivator would say, "If you're not careful, see what happens? Next time, be more careful when carrying things that can spill or break, okay?"
How to motivate kids and inspire better behavior
When praising kids, be specific and acknowledge the effort that went in to their good behavior and not simply praising the outcome. "I like how neatly you packed your toys away" can be more encouraging than "Good job!"
It's also important not to overly praise your child for every little thing. Keep it balanced.
Expressing your feelings also helps phrase instructions in ways that can encourage obedience. For instance, when trying to explain why you need to get prepared quickly, use your feelings. Say something like: "We have to go now or else we will miss our doctor's appointment. Then, mom will be scolded by her boss if she files another leave."
This not only teaches them responsibility, but also empathy, when it comes to the needs of others.
Make statements age-appropriate, too, as younger kids may be able to better grasp simpler concepts of cause and effect.
The key is to focus on raising an internally motivated child by making sure they get the external motivation they need as they grow through their family and school life.