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Thread: Parents-Help!! I am becoming a nagger!!

  1. #1
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    Parents-Help!! I am becoming a nagger!!

    So the kids are 9, 6 and 4, and I am having a heckuva time getting them to do the most minor things-put your plates in the sink, put your shoes in the closet, put your backpacks away-without me asking them, sometimes mutliple times. I get tired of hearing myself say 'bowls in the sink', so I can't imagine how they feel! So, what am I doing wrong? Is there a trick to breaking the nagging habit, without giving up and doing it all myself?

    I should add, it isn't like they are being defiant, it just doesn't occur to them to do it.
    Karen

  2. #2
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    I think that's the one part of parenting that bothered me the most, ALWAYS having to be the one to remind them, but it's just part of the job! It does get better! Now mine, when they're here, will ask to take my plate to the dishwasher!

    But don't give up and do it for them!
    Well-behaved women seldom make history!

  3. #3
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    Are you sure they're really hearing you? I have much better luck when I tell my kids to look at me before I ask them to do something. Like, "Jack, look at me." I wait until he's looking me in the eye. Then I say, "Before you can play, you need to put your dishes in the sink." (Or whatever.) My boys are 5 and almost 7.
    I'm looking forward to the other replies you get.
    TKay

  4. #4
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    I feel your pain..I felt that way also for a while until I came up with the following:
    On the fridge I made a laminated list. I listed the things like you said that were everyday necessities, like the backpack, shoes..ect. I also added their chores on the same list, they checked them off as they did them.
    Now I was not one to "give" them something every time they did something that really should have been done but they did get points for "extra" things, I left a few squares blank.
    I used it more of a reminder to them, sometimes they just forgot, it was not like they wanted to get "nagged" either. They knew after a while to check the list a couple of times a day to see if everything was done.
    It workes so great and was changed as they got older and for the seasons, like summer they had many more things to do as well as when they got older.

    The only thing is you might need to "remind" them the first couple of days after that it should become a habit.

    My DD's that are now 22, 24 & 26 still laugh about it but all say they will do it with their kids then they them

    Kim
    Take time to laugh, it's the music of the soul

  5. #5
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    jellyben, what if you pin some kind of rules about 'you don't get x until you have done y'. Like, no dessert until your bowls are in the sink, no tv until their backpacks are put away, etc. When they ask for dessert, 'Are your bowls in the sink?' At least this way you aren't nagging them, you are just asking them a question. And if it goes on too long, you could always turn it into, put your bowls in the sink without being reminded, or you don't get dessert. I'm sure they will start to remember then! Unless you have some kind of consequence, they have no reason to remember, since they could probably care less if you have more clean up work to do, or the house looks untidy.
    Anne

    When you start to cook, as when you begin to live, you think that the point is to improve the technique until you end up with something perfect, and that the reason you haven’t been able to break the cycle of desire and disillusion is that you haven’t yet mastered the rules. Then you grow up, and you learn that that’s the game.

    Adam Gopnik, The New Yorker

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    Quote Originally Posted by beacooker View Post
    since they could probably care less if you have more clean up work to do, or the house looks untidy.
    Sad, but true!! It reminds me of that movie The Breakup, where the girl tells her boyfriend "I want you to WANT to do the dishes"!!

    I do use some of the love and logic ideas-when you do X, then you can have Y. And that works well. I was just hoping to get them to do it spontaneously but I guess I am shooting too high! I like the idea of putting a list on the fridge-I will try that.
    Karen

  7. #7
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    LOL about that wanting to do the dishes line. Thanks for reminding me to put that movie in my queue!

    And you might not have to be an enforcer for very long with this stuff. Once they get used to putting them in one place instead of the other, they probably will rarely forget.
    Anne

    When you start to cook, as when you begin to live, you think that the point is to improve the technique until you end up with something perfect, and that the reason you haven’t been able to break the cycle of desire and disillusion is that you haven’t yet mastered the rules. Then you grow up, and you learn that that’s the game.

    Adam Gopnik, The New Yorker

  8. #8
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    Okay, I'm not a parent but can I just interject something here? I have sworn to myself that I will never make food a reward for doing something right for my kids. To this day, food is a reward for good and a comfort in bad (because now nobody can tell me I can't have it) and I fight weight issues because of it. I wish I enjoyed food but didn't lean on it as comfort or reward because I probably wouldn't have as many issues.

    Actually, I do have some experience with this from coaching. I have certain skills or methods that I work on with the kids (5 & 6). One day, after reminding one boy repeatedly not to do something (it was a safety issue) I said "Okay, the next person to do that gets to hike." Let me tell you, I didn't have to remind them again that day and they know that I'm serious when I ask them to do something.

    Okay, back to your regularly scheduled thread...


    "Life isn't about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself" ~ George Bernard Shaw


  9. #9
    I used to get pretty discouraged for nagging about the same things. I eased up a bit, when I suddenly realized my kids who seemed to think "WHAT kitchen sink?", would always get up from the table at their Grandparents, take their dishes to the kitchen, rinse them and put them in the dishwasher --without anyone asking.

    You can nag for years with no seeming results -- until the day you realize that you have just heard one of the older children lecturing a younger one about the thing you've always wanted them all to do.

    The real kicker was when they would come home from school and announce, "MY TEACHER SAID!" Don't you wonder why teachers seem so much smarter than their parents about their household chores.

    About the time it all gets better -- they start nagging you!

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by beacooker View Post
    jellyben, what if you pin some kind of rules about 'you don't get x until you have done y'. Like, no dessert until your bowls are in the sink, no tv until their backpacks are put away, etc. When they ask for dessert, 'Are your bowls in the sink?' At least this way you aren't nagging them, you are just asking them a question. And if it goes on too long, you could always turn it into, put your bowls in the sink without being reminded, or you don't get dessert.
    Keep in mind that this won't work with every kid. I had one who would just choose to skip dessert or TV or whatever.

  11. #11
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    And why is it that they can remember to do these same types of 'daily' things at school every morning. Unpack the backpack, put the lunch away, etc.

    SSM
    Now Robin's Mom too...10/21/02

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by hollysmom View Post
    And why is it that they can remember to do these same types of 'daily' things at school every morning. Unpack the backpack, put the lunch away, etc.

    SSM
    It's easy when you see everyone else doing it, it's a reminder on it's own. But what happens at the end of the day when re-packing that backpack and certain books are "forgotten" for homework? Could just be a male issue though! And I'm so glad those days are over for me!
    Well-behaved women seldom make history!

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robyn1007 View Post
    Okay, I'm not a parent but can I just interject something here? I have sworn to myself that I will never make food a reward for doing something right for my kids.
    I assume you are referring to my suggestion that the kids can have dessert once they put the dishes in the right place, right? Cuz I'm too lazy to re-read the other responses and double check I am the only one who brought up food. I wasn't at all intending to reward the kids for doing something they should just do - I was just trying to come up with examples, and if eating dessert after dinner is something they already do, just attach conditions to it. If they don't already eat dessert after dinner, I wouldn't recommend starting the practice to provide a reward for the kids for putting their dishes in the correct place. And if they don't normally watch tv right after coming home from school, then again, I wouldn't recommend starting it in order to reward the kids for putting their bookbags away. I'm not sure if that really addresses what you were saying, though.

    Obviously, you have to do what seems right to you, but I think that some food rewards are a perfectly healthy and normal thing to do. In your case, it sounds like maybe your parents over-did it, and gave you food where love or recognition or something else may have been a better option. I think it would be very hard to parent without ever using food rewards, but they aren't the only reward I use.

    ETA: Just as I finished up writing this, my 5yo came in the room, and for the millionth time I told him to go take off his shoes and put them on top of his dresser (cuz if I didn't remind him, they would be on the floor). So I'm not at all holding myself up to be an example of how to get your kids to do things without asking!!
    Anne

    When you start to cook, as when you begin to live, you think that the point is to improve the technique until you end up with something perfect, and that the reason you haven’t been able to break the cycle of desire and disillusion is that you haven’t yet mastered the rules. Then you grow up, and you learn that that’s the game.

    Adam Gopnik, The New Yorker

  14. #14
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    I don't have kids unless a 28 y.o. DH counts... but with him when I finally got sick of nagging about dishes in the sink, I just took them out and piled them on his desk in his office. He quickly learned that the dishwasher was a much better place for them. It's not like I was asking him to wash them by hand, when I could see letting a few pile up. The DW is RIGHT THERE next to the sink!

    I've also found notes to be handy. I put a "Laundry Hamper located this way" pointing to the spare bedroom on the cellar door, because I was sick of him throwing clothes down the stairs. oh and Lysol Wipes with a Post-It "New exciting product exclusively for users of Burt's Bees toothpaste" because there was nasty brownish green toothpaste schmeg in the sink. LOL I guess I am a total Note Nagger because this summer there was N.S.O. on the door for No Socks Outside because he'd go out in white sock feet and they're impossible to clean. What is he, six??

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by beacooker View Post
    I assume you are referring to my suggestion that the kids can have dessert once they put the dishes in the right place, right? Cuz I'm too lazy to re-read the other responses and double check I am the only one who brought up food. I wasn't at all intending to reward the kids for doing something they should just do - I was just trying to come up with examples, and if eating dessert after dinner is something they already do, just attach conditions to it. If they don't already eat dessert after dinner, I wouldn't recommend starting the practice to provide a reward for the kids for putting their dishes in the correct place. And if they don't normally watch tv right after coming home from school, then again, I wouldn't recommend starting it in order to reward the kids for putting their bookbags away. I'm not sure if that really addresses what you were saying, though.

    Obviously, you have to do what seems right to you, but I think that some food rewards are a perfectly healthy and normal thing to do. In your case, it sounds like maybe your parents over-did it, and gave you food where love or recognition or something else may have been a better option. I think it would be very hard to parent without ever using food rewards, but they aren't the only reward I use.
    I was referring to your post and you're right, everyone has to evaluate their own kids in this situation but I have met quite a few people who have the same issues as an adult and my friends who weren't rewarded in this manner don't tend to have issues. And just to be clear ('cause there are people on this board who have met my mom) it was my dad who used food as the reward. My parents were divorced so they didn't really talk about parenting strategies.


    "Life isn't about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself" ~ George Bernard Shaw


  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peweh View Post
    I don't have kids unless a 28 y.o. DH counts... but with him when I finally got sick of nagging about dishes in the sink, I just took them out and piled them on his desk in his office. He quickly learned that the dishwasher was a much better place for them. It's not like I was asking him to wash them by hand, when I could see letting a few pile up. The DW is RIGHT THERE next to the sink!

    I've also found notes to be handy. I put a "Laundry Hamper located this way" pointing to the spare bedroom on the cellar door, because I was sick of him throwing clothes down the stairs. oh and Lysol Wipes with a Post-It "New exciting product exclusively for users of Burt's Bees toothpaste" because there was nasty brownish green toothpaste schmeg in the sink. LOL I guess I am a total Note Nagger because this summer there was N.S.O. on the door for No Socks Outside because he'd go out in white sock feet and they're impossible to clean. What is he, six??
    Too funny!! Sounds a lot like my DH, and he definitely would respond better to a funny note than to me nagging him about X, Y or Z.

    Robyn1007, I am not big into manipulating kids with treats, but it could be dessert or watching TV or going outside, where I say "Sure, right after you put your dishes away" when they ask for something.
    Karen

  17. #17
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    I believe in natural consequences. If I have to pick up a toy, it goes in my closet where it doesn't come out for at least a week. (Sunday is Amnesty Day, but it has to be in for at least one week.) I don't nag at all, if I pick it up it is gone. No yelling, reminding or arguing. Now that is easy when it comes to toys, but when it is something you can't take away like winter jacket, homework folders, sneakers- then I put it away but the kids go straight into timeout then I give them a chore of mine to do later. I put it away because I hate looking at books out on the table for an hour while they are out playing, or shoes on the floor while they are at school- by the time they get home I am so angry from looking at the mess that I overreact. So I put the item away, but then as soon as they come in they go straight into time out for 5 minutes and then they do something for me. Maybe make my bed in the morning, change the kitty litter, take out trash, restock toilet tissue- something that is a mommy job. The chore can't be something like cleaning their room, setting the table, feeding pets or one of their normal chores.
    My personal pet peeve! Band- aids! I can't tell you how many band-aid wrappers and used band-aids I pick up off the floor! How disgusting! Since I am not getting into a "who's band-aid is it" detective contest, when I find them I just punish them both.
    I don't think the dish cleared thing is using food as a reward, it is more like saying that you have to clean up from one meal before getting something else. I would do the same thing with toys, can't get out a new on before you put away the old one.

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