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The Rules of Parenting, 2nd Edition by Richard Templar

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RULE 37

Don’t be a nag

I read a very interesting piece recently about someone who had been researching into nagging (I wonder how many times they had to be asked). They discovered that if you nag people, they’re actually less likely to do what you want than if you don’t.

So how do you get your kids to do things if you don’t nag? Well, nagging has a tone to it that implies irritation and that’s what’s so offputting about it. And when nagging gets really bad – and this is something Rules parents make sure they never do – you nag children about what they are rather than simply about what they do. So ‘You didn’t shut the door’ is a reasonable reprimand, but ‘You never shut the door’ is a nag. Even worse is condemning their natural character: ‘You ...

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