Nagging Never Works

By Ron Huxley, LMFT

Parenting teenagers can be a frustrating time for parents. They feel the need to nag, threaten, lecture and even yell to get them to be compliant. Research shows that this parenting actions create oppositional and defiant children. This is the opposite of what parents want. They desire compliant, fun-to-be-around children. 

Of course, no one likes to be nagged. Parents do not like it from their spouses or employers, so why would we think that children like it? How you show a child to do something and ask them to do it makes a lot of difference in how motivated they are to comply with you. 

Dr. Kazdin, Ph.D., author of the book The Kazdin Method: Parenting the Oppositional and Defiant Child, suggest parents have their practice the behavior they want when they parent is not frustration (which could be a rare moment). This practice is fueled by the parent being playful about it and using praise in very specific ways. Humiliation and shame is not the motive here. Even though Kazdin is more focused on behavior than attachment, the reparative actions of practicing in a playful way mimics what parents would do with younger children in a natural way which is typical of therapeutic work with traumatized children. 

What can you practice with your defiant teen that would build skills and not resentment? How can you increase cooperation with specific praise of your teens efforts to be helpful instead of argumentative? How a parent parents is a more powerful method than what tools a parents uses. 

Learn more power parenting tools with Ron Huxley’s parenting book: 

Love and Limits: Achieving a Balance in Parenting

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