- Written by Celia Osenton
According to comments from participants registering at a recent conference, most mothers are especially skilled at nagging. It is not that mothers are being unfairly picked on.
Mothers claim to have more practice, more opportunities to perfect the art, and therefore more interest in looking for ideas to help prevent nagging. Of the ten workshops offered at this parent education conference "Motivation Without Nagging" was easily the most popular, and the first to have enrollment capped. This came as no real surprise to the organizers of the conference since this workshop had been the one most requested by School Councils who are involved with "The Family Program" at C.C.I.S. This is a program that offers a choice of more than thirty different two hour workshops dealing with the day to day challenges of raising children.
How then can we motivate without nagging? Is it really possible to motivate someone else?
Many people grumble that it's hard enough to motivate themselves most of the time without using up their energy on others. Five key points are usually considered when we attempt to cut down on nagging:
Motivation based on self-esteem. If children receive acknowledgment for the effort they have made they will be more encouraged to repeat the behavior without nagging next time.
Motivation based on rewards (not bribes). Children need both tangible and intangible rewards. Base the incentive or reward on the child's interest (a true key to motivation).
Motivation based on structure. Are we wasting time and energy nagging because the child does not really know what is expected? Is there a logical appropriate consequence in place if the task is not completed?
Motivation based on humor. Lighten up on some of the messages. A little humor can often attract more attention and sweeten the message.
Motivation based on Learning Style. A very powerful tool to factor into motivation. For example, visual children will respond more readily and positively to a picture or a written note to remind them of a task.
As Galileo so wisely said, "You cannot teach a man anything. You can only help him discover it within himself." Our challenge as parents is to create an environment in which we are ultimately able to help children become self-motivated.
Celia Osenton is a Certified Canadian Family Educator (C.C.F.E.) and Parent Education Advisor for Families Matter and has been involved with Parent Education Programs in Calgary for twenty five years. She is the mother of three adult children and grandmother to three delightful pre-school little girls.