Almost all parents who attend my classes say that they are sick of being ignored. They don’t understand why they have to constantly repeat themselves until the child listens or acts.
Nagging and not responding are very frustrating, annoying, and disrespectful for both parents and children.
One simple solution is to say your request only one time, and when tempted the second time, take action. Here are a few examples:
- When your child is playing with his food, you can ask him “would you please finish your lunch.” If he continues to play, you need to act – just calmly take his plate and say “It looks like you’re not hungry. The next meal is dinner.”
- Your child agreed to clean the living room at the end of a TV show. If he forgets and continues to watch, you can say “toys on the floor”, and if that doesn’t help, just act – turn off the TV.
- When it’s time to go to school and the child is dawdling, you can say “I am leaving in 5 minutes.” When the child is not ready, just pick him up as he is and get in the car (you can have his clothes and shoes in a bag). No need for words just action.
We need to respect ourselves, in order for our kids to respect us. Repeating and nagging teaches the kids not to take us seriously. This interaction has to be low key and in a firm, friendly, and respectful voice. This is not a punishment, it’s an opportunity to teach your child to follow his agreements (picking up toys at the end of the show) or the needs of the situation (meal time, getting to school/work on time).