“Try as I may, I cannot stop myself from nagging the children. You know those border-line things that aren’t outright disobedience, but just things they should know to do or not do. I do NOT want to nag…and yet I can’t seem to stop. What to do?!”
This sounds like myself. In fact, what I’m about to write? Easy to write, much harder to do. Why is that? This post is for me, as much as for anyone else.
In our home, nagging doesn’t feel like nagging at the time. That is, I’m the mom. I feel it’s my inherent job to “explain” things to my children. And there is a fine line between training and nagging. But the line exists.
When a child is doing his chores or schoolwork too slowly, appearing to be dawdling instead, the nagging comes naturally. “Why are you staring into space instead of doing what I asked you? I don’t want you to grow up to be irresponsible. I’m trying to raise a diligent son/daughter, and you’re walking around the house like you don’t know what you’re supposed to be doing…nag…nag…nag…”
I am so guilty.
Here’s the simple solution: create consequences that enforce the task, make them clear, and then…drum roll please….Enforce it. Every time.
Grown up example
Imagine I am speeding. I know I’m not supposed to be speeding. The state trooper knows that I know I’m not supposed to be speeding. Imagine he comes to my window jumping up and down throwing a hissy fit (I don’t know if you have those in other parts of the country, but we do here in the South)…
“What do you think you’re doing? How many times do I have to tell you not to speed? Don’t you know you’re going to kill somebody! What kind of citizen are you speeding like that?! I have never in all my life….”
No, in reality, he calmly, often without a word, writes me a ticket. And that is the most effective means in the universe of getting me to slow down. He isn’t punishing me, that piece of paper that’s going to cost me is, and it reminds me that ultimately it’s MY fault.
If we could implement this strategy with our children, I think disciplines would be learned much easier, and Mom could remain the “good guy”, calmly teaching life’s lessons about actions and consequences.
Establish the expectations, set the consequences, enforce. This really shouldn’t be so hard! But let me know if you have managed it.
This article originally appeared at Generation Cedar.