How Bringing a Goat into Your Home Can Stop You From Nagging Your Kids

By Susan P. Epstein, LCSW, Parent Coach
Author of Are You Tired of Nagging? Get Kids To Cooperate

When my children were little we had a book called "It Could Always Be Worse". The story is about a couple that is living in a small cottage. It is crowded and the couple is always bumping into each other during the day. The wife was always nagging her husband about putting his things away and the husband was always nagging his wife that he couldn’t find his things. They could not get along and they lived a miserable existence together. They finally agree that they will ask the wise man in the village what to do to solve their problem.

So the next day, the husband goes to the wise man in the village and asks him what he should do. The wise man says: go get a goat and bring it into your home. And every day for a month bring another animal into your home. Come back and see me in a month. The man thinks that this is a crazy idea but hey, the wise man is the wise man. So he follows his advice. He gets a goat, chickens, cows, pigs etc. and brings them one by one into the small cottage.

A month later he returns to the wise man and says,"I did what you asked but now the cottage is even more cramped and we are arguing more than ever. And it smells bad, too."

The wise man says,"Good, now go home and let all the animals out."

The husband did as he was told. The next day, husband and wife had a new found perception of their situation. Instead of feeling cramped they felt blessed for the space they had.

Certainly, bringing a herd of animals into your house is extreme...but you could try it...

But this might be easier...

When your child talks back or misbehaves..instead of wondering why your child doesn't
get it after s/he has been told over and over again and then you reacting, nagging and yelling...

Imagine you had 10 kids in your home doing the same behaviors all at the same time.

Then look at this one child that does live with you...(you can do this it is not10 kids) and repeat calmly until s/he stops:

"Please don't speak to me that way, it is disrespectful."

If you keep repeating this calmly your child will stop and you will have a new perception of your child and feel blessed for your new blossoming, loving relationship based on clear expectations, mutual respect, love and nurturance.

Susan P. Epstein is a certified Brief Strategic Family Therapist and trained with the Family Therapy Institute, at the University of Miami. She completed training in 2003 with the internationally accredited Coaches Training Institute. She has authored several book and audio programs focused on parenting issues including Are You Tired of Nagging? Get Your Kids to Cooperate: How to Raise Well-Behaved Children and The Take Back Your Parenting Power System: Get Control of Your Kids in 30 Days or Less: The Secret Formula to Powerful Parenting. More information on Susan and her work can be found on her website,