Updated: Oct 21, 2020


It's been a while that we've been cooped up with our families. And, if absence makes the heart grow fonder, is the opposite also true?

Do you find yourselves getting on each others' nerves - with every little bad habit magnified 100x?


Very seldom do any of us need to commit to a bad habit to keep it going.

Those bad habits just seem to follow us no matter how much we want to stop. Good habits, however, take time and commitment to form and stick to.

Think about it...How easy was it for you to start

  • ...smoking?

  • ...drinking soda?

  • ...overeating?

How hard was it to quit? Are you still trying?

Well, it's the same for your kiddos. Whether it's brushing their teeth, hanging their coats up, or settling down to do their homework, it is so much easier just not to.

But that doesn't make for a happy household -does it? There's a constant battle of wills and everyone ends up cranky and exhausted.

What's a mother to do?

I suggest letting go of the nagging, cajoling, begging, pleading, punishing, yelling -- whatever -- and start a partnership with your kids.


Here are some things to do with your kids to get you started and help you along the way:

  1. Visualize the outcome. Feature the happiness you’ll feel, how you will look, and your emotions each time you practice the good habit that you want to form.

  2. Write down the benefits. For example, if they commit to brushing teeth nightly, write down the burdens that would be lifted if you realize success. Would it be fewer cavities – not spending as much time in the dentist's chair? Also, write down the sacrifices they’re going to have to make when they commit to the good habits. For example, if they’re committed to getting homework done, they might have to give up some game time on the computer.

  3. Keep going. Don’t quit if you experience a failure. When you’re truly committed, don’t just give up at the first sign of trouble. Wars would never have been won and highly successful people would have never reached great heights if they quit after one or many failures.

  4. Engage your mind totally and completely. You’ve all got to realize why the bad habit keeps plaguing you.

  5. Focus on your performance rather than the consistency of your efforts. For example, if you’re committed to keeping a clean room but once in a while only feel like putting the clothes away and not the toys, you’ve at least kept up the routine – making the bad habit of not cleaning up easier to break.

The Ugly

Unfortunately, we are human and nothing happens automatically.

Forming good habits or losing bad ones, you’ll have to commit to going through the struggle to get there. You can commit to a good habit for 30 days and have a pretty good head start on making it a permanent habit.

If you’re giving up something they really enjoy by changing a bad habit, be sure to substitute something that's desirable. Rewards are a good way to embed a new habit and overwrite the bad one.

Be sure that the habits are being formed or lost because the kiddos see the benefits and want it – and are not just doing it because "you said so". This is where it is so important to include and enlist your child in the process. No matter how much they love, admire, or respect you - it just won't work.

Lastly, if it's something that you can't go alone, if it is a constant source of stress in your home life, get help. Small problems turn into major battles and all objectivity is lost. Confidence and self-esteem are eroded.

The coaching, accountability, and consistency I provide help clients to gain insight and to develop an action plan. First, we’ll work to understand more clearly the underlying issues that are affecting your abilities to negotiate a truce. Then, I’ll share with you what strategies have proven most effective at dealing with those issues and will help you to develop and implement a plan for putting them into action. You can contact me here.

Now, I'd love to hear from you.

Have you helped your child pick up any positive or break any undesirable habits successfully? Share them in the comments.

#grit #education #raisingkids #problems #parenting #problemsolving #skills #selfesteem #confidence #habits


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