Do you find yourself nagging on a daily basis and you're sick of it? Well, you're not alone!
Research has shown that up to 70% of communications daily in the average home, whether verbal or through gesture, are regarded as negative. It's just so easy to say, "Don't do this, don't do that!" We criticize each other, allow negative talk and aggression, and get over-concerned with things that, in terms of what's really important, don't really matter. There's a danger of making mountains out of mole hills.
CHANGING THE NEGATIVE HOME LIFE STARTS HERE!
1. Decide what you want your family to look like - e.g. honest, committed, obedient, respectful,
responsible, forgiving and kind.
2. Describe what these behaviors should look like - e.g. being honest means we don't tell lies, we own
up when we make mistakes, we don't steal others' stuff.
3. This list becomes your own family values.
Draw up 4 columns and head them up like this and fill them in:
a) Our core values b) What they will look like around our home c) Positive consequences
d) Negative consequences
4. Teach these expected behaviors (values) to your children - one at a time, perhaps in priority order.
5. Explain that there will be positive rewards for following the desired values.
6. Create a set of negative consequences to be applied if these values are breached.
(Your strongest penalty should be reserved for breaching the value you see as a top priority and
so on down the list. Every family will differ on the values chosen and consequences awarded.
HOW TO TEACH YOUR KIDS TO BEHAVE POSITIVELY
- Kids will almost always respond positively when they know they will be praised or encouraged.
- They want to see you role modeling the way you expect them to behave.
- Kids will not respect you if you do not carry out the consequences you have taught them.
- If they mess up, they should be given a chance to change. If not, then the agreed consequence
NOTE: When a child has to be served a consequence simply go to your chart, see what was agreed upon, then all you have to do is say, "Which of these values have you not kept?" "OK, so what was the consequence we agreed on?" Now, apply it. This method prevents you making a consequence in the heat of the moment and issuing one that does not match the 'crime'. Saying, "You're grounded until you're 35," is not likely to work!
Don't let the small stuff based on your quirks get in the way of far more important things. Sometimes we need to ignore the lesser things if we find ourselves nagging. Length of hair, color of clothing, whether clothes are laid out the night before etc. are quirks. These are personal taste issues or the small stuff and not worth working up a sweat about.
Have a family meeting over pizza or before a family movie to outline these matters to your children. If they are school-aged children they can help you create the lists. Often they will be harsher than you and it also helps them invest in the whole procedure.
ADDED WAYS TO IMPROVE YOUR FAMILY ATMOSPHERE
- Look for ways to praise and affirm your kids.
- Agree to use inside voices (restaurant style). No shouting, screaming or squealing. (That's parents, too!)
- Use plenty of affection with your children and let them see you being affectionate.
- Parents need to be consistent in applying both positive and negative consequences.
- Create an orderly home.
Written by Brian Burgess