Replacing Nagging with Motivating Kids to Remember on Their Own

Monica was complaining about her 11-year-old daughter, Lillian, not picking up after herself. She was tired of having to remind her to clean up. The latest incident was when Lillian left candy wrappers and an empty popcorn bag on the couch.

Lillian was sitting on the couch watching TV when Monica noticed all the trash on the couch. Monica asked Lillian to clean it up and she responded “Fine!” while proceeding to just sit there. This made Monica angry and she yelled at Lillian for being lazy and having to be constantly reminded to do simple things like pick up after herself.

While Lillian eventually did pick up the wrappers, she did it with an attitude. Monica wanted a better way to handle this situation so that she could stop nagging Lillian to pick up after herself.

The thing Lillian looked forward to the most was the quiet talking time she and her mom had before bed each night. Monica explained to Lillian that from now on, they would start their quiet time together just as soon as she had everything picked up. When Lillian forgot to clean up, Monica just said “clean up first” and Lillian quickly got to work so that not too much of their time together was used while she picked up.

By figuring out what Lillian was motivated by, she was able to attach this to getting her chores done first. Monica found that this was less stressful and more effective than the nagging.

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