Christine Carter: Stop nagging!

Kids don't do what you ask? Parenting coach Christine Carter offers a nag-free alternative: the h-word.

"Brush your teeth." 

"Pack your lunch." 

"Go to bed."

We talk and our kids listen … or they don’t. So we say it again, and again, and again. In this video, Raising Happiness author Christine Carter says if you don’t want to get caught into an eternal nagging trap, all you need to do is change your approach by embracing the magical "h" word. Your reward? More responsible and self-reliant kids and (wait, there’s more!) a less stressed-out, frustrated parent.

Read the full transcript: It’s really about structuring your family life so you don’t have to nag. I see this in my role as a parent coach. It’s almost universal, this is kind of a problem, because we actually do a lot more for our children for longer than previous generations have. So we’re structuring our lives to nag our children until they leave the house and what we need to do is to kind of reengineer a lot of the routines and the roles as our kids get older. So all that is to say this isn’t an easy question and there’s no easy fix to this.

A few things: one, it really becomes about habit and knowing how to establish a new routine in your family or have your kids get into a habit. Because once somebody is doing something habitually, once a child wakes up and makes their bed habitually or brushes their teeth before going to bed or all the things we need them to do to run their lives — once they do that habitually, it’s on auto-pilot and they will not need to be reminded.

Most kids, you know, by the time they’re out of a booster seat, do not need to be reminded to put their seatbelt on, for example. They sit in the car and they do it. That’s something we used to have to buckle them in and do for them. Pretty much, all the daily tasks related to self-care and household care and school should become habitual so that nagging shouldn’t have to take place. Once it’s a habit it goesright  into the basal ganglia and they never have to think about it again until we go on vacation and they get out of the habit and you have to get back into it again.

Want to hear more from Christine Carter? Learn her tough-love technique to get her daughters to do their chores.

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