Do your kids nag so much you have thought about running away from home? Or worse yet, do you give in to whatever it is they want just to get them to stop crying, whining or nagging you? Having those moments where giving in is easier then dealing with the relentless persistence of your kiddo?
10 Ways to Stop Your Child’s Nagging
Kids of all ages will nag, it just varies in the type depending on their age and temperament. I am by no means an expert and I am writing this because the nagging in my house drives me crazy. I just thought I would share my experience in being a mom of 7 children that have nagged and whined about everything under the sun.
Here are the things that I do that have worked for me and will hopefully work for you to stop your child’s nagging.
- When my child approaches me with wanting to do something, eat something, buy something etc…. (with kids the list can go on and on). There are many things that will need time to think, other types of consideration involved, or input from my husband etc. I will start out by letting my child know that I will think about it and get back with him or her.
Most often times they want to hear the answer they are looking for right then and there. That’s when the nagging begins. The constant persistent whining or bugging me makes me want to hide, scream or yell. I calmly (as calm as I am capable of) look them in the eye and tell them if you need an answer now, then it is NO. I give one reminder and then must stick with NO. If I don’t this method will never work. Quite frankly, no methods will work if they see you don’t mean what you say. See #7
- There is a certain type of nagging that you can just ignore, especially in younger children. I go about my business and don’t feed into the nagging. This works really well with minor issues and very young children. If it’s something unimportant to them or when they are younger they’ll quickly move onto something else.
- Distraction, this method only works with my very youngest. There is no distraction in the world that will work on a determined teenager!!!!! With our younger kids showing them something else to play with or entertain them will get their minds quickly onto something else fast. If they are wanting a treat you don’t want them to have, distracting with a healthy alternative is a great compromise.
- With the very stubborn child that just won’t stop with their request; having them go to their room or to a desk and write out what it is they want works very well. Even if their spelling isn’t quite up to this level they can write the best they can or draw out what it is they want. It gives them time to take a breather from you and it gives us parents and moment to breathe. I’ve noticed when they write it down sometimes their motivation is clearer for me to see and often they will see if what they were asking for was reasonable (older kids).
- When it comes to shopping. I think it’s very important from the time our children are very young to establish what is okay and what is not okay in the store. I have always had a rule of not allowing things to be asked for in stores unless we are going to the store to specifically shop for that particular child or children. They know we have a list and a budget. Very, very rarely do the kids get anything that is not on our list. Each family is different, but I do think the child knowing what your rules are needs to be implemented when they are young. If whining, nagging or tantrums began to rear their ugly heads in the store or public place we immediately leave. It works much better if an older child is with me or my husband so then we can at least get done what we needed to do.
- Don’t react! No reaction will bring them to a quick halt. I’ve noticed when I engage in the nagging behavior it only continues and gets worse. When I’m discussing the matter with my child if I don’t show a strong reaction it doesn’t provoke a strong reaction from them. If you notice when you get upset, you lose your control and power over the situation. Not to say you want to control or have power over your child but you do need to maintain your role as parent.
- Consistency! Yikes….. such a hard one! When those crocodile tears start running down one of my kids face, boy oh boy do I want to give them the world. Even though I logically know they don’t need it. Being firm and saying what you mean is a must. This is such a hard area for me. Sticking by what you say will go a long way in future discussions and issues that arrive. If they see you will give in, the child will realize nagging actually works. If they see we’re not going to give in when we’ve made up our mind, they eventually realize no amount of nagging will get what they want. Their nagging behaviors will decrease. If you use #1 you must be consistent with it. Consistency is my word to live by this year, read more about it here. It’s very important that I pick my battles carefully and don’t react in a way that isn’t something I can’t truly enforce. For example, saying you are grounded for the rest of your life is not practical or enforceable. To be consistent I must make whatever I decide something we can all live with.
- Let them fully ask what they are wanting before giving my answer. I often know what they are getting to before they even say half the sentence. If I quickly say no, I am telling them what they have to say isn’t important. I’m teaching them early on that communicating in a proper manner isn’t going to work because they’ll just be cut off before they even voice what it is they need. Letting our children explain exactly what they are wanting or what the issue is let’s them know I’m listening. Being present and attentive to their needs shows them I care enough to listen. Children of all ages (even teenagers) desire attention. Kids will often continue nagging because they feel they aren’t being heard. Listening and showing we are putting thought into what they say shows our appreciation for their needs.
- Time outs for kids and parents. If the nagging just won’t stop it is often best to have them go to their room or somewhere else. If that isn’t working remove yourself, go into another room and stay detached from the situation. Children of any age want what they want and if they can’t have it can be relentless. Stay calm and drink coffee 🙂
- When these situations come up and your child handled it as best as they can encourage and compliment them. Even if it was slightly better than the last time. Tell them what they did or didn’t do that was good. Point out the positive (even if it was very minimal) in their behavior. Making a big deal out the appropriate behaviors will continue to reinforce the good things they do.
Does or did your child nag you? What things have you used to stop your child’s nagging? Share your tips with me, dealing with the toddler years up to the teenage years (and often beyond) can sure be tricky!!!!