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Orange rhinos and nattering monkeys

May 19, 2013

My cousin’s wife posted a link a couple weeks ago to the “orange rhino challenge”. Have you heard of it? It is the blog/stories of a mom who challenged herself to not yell for 365 days.

Wow! Ok, so I have been trying to yell less for a couple weeks… Let me tell you.. Wow, oh wow! It is hard. I blow it once or twice a week. I know part if it is just a bad habit, once I break the yelling habit, it should be easier. I know I need to stop. If for no other reason than it doesn’t work and my daughter has started yelling too. Yikes!

But, I realized that just stoping yelling isn’t going to cut it for me. I have another bad mom habit that is actually much worse. Much worse in intensity, frequency, duration, AND detrimental effect to the kids. What is this evil habit, you ask?


I am a terrible natterer.

I nag. I make comments about how she does things. I give advice. I criticize. I complain. I say I told you so. Often all at once…. 😦

She ignores my request. She tunes me out. I repeat myself. Then I get I her face. She starts moving slowly. I rush her with a constant monologue. Or she doesn’t move and I yell!

A quick Google search turned up the Dr. Sears article I blogged about here as well as this:

One of the biggest parenting problems Burraston finds in the at-risk families he studies is something researchers call “nattering,” which is several steps beyond nagging. If you don’t impose a consequence when your child refuses to do what you ask but instead ask again and again, you’re nattering. “Kids learn to turn that off really well. When they do, parents typically keep nattering, and then they’ll get really mad and blow and start screaming. The kids naturally react by screaming back. So nattering is very ineffective.”

from this BYU online article

Oh dear…

So not good!

Interestingly, I don’t do any of this with my 2 1/2 son.

But I just heard something fascinating this week in one of the books on tape I was listening to: the author mentioned that parents give unconditional love up until age 5-6 then typically, they switch to offering conditional love… They only offer complements, hugs, etc when the child is behaving…. Hhmmmm…. Something to think about.

Meanwhile, I think I need to start a No Nattering and Yelling challenge for myself.

Really I do.


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