Nagging Isn't About Your Kids, It's About You
The other day I was having a conversation with my brother. We were talking about our children and nagging came up. It was what he said that made me pause and ultimately led me to a discovery about myself. He said, "we nag because we are so tired and frustrated they don't do what we've told them 100 times to do."
Did you catch it? The reason I paused...Probably not. So let me explain.
The phrase that jumped out at me was "because WE are so tired and frustrated." It's the word "we" where the discovery was made. Hearing it this way placed the emphasis on how I would be feeling as parent at the time I was nagging, not about addressing my child's needs or behaviors.
In the past I have talked a lot about how all behavior is communication and when we (or our kids) are struggling, our behavior struggles. It may come out as nagging, yelling, anger, sadness, etc. The nagging is only the symptom of the underlining issue.
In that same vain, I have also talked about if a family is to have harmony in their home everyone's needs are important and should be met. That includes parents and care-givers. That's why this discovery is so important. Nagging our children exposes an underlying issue where our needs are not being met. Understanding this helps reframe the situation and the ongoing communication with your child.
For example, if you find yourself nagging your kids to constantly pick up you need to ask yourself the following:
* Do my kids have the skill set to pick up?
* Does my family understand that having a clean space helps me feel better?
* What steps can I take to help reduce the need to remind my children to pick up?
Based on these answers here's what we did. I began to explain to my family how having a clean space makes me feel and how I feel in a disorganized, messy space. By sharing how I felt it helped them be more empathic to my needs and think how their behavior effects others. We also took steps to declutter, organize, and clean. That way a new expectation was set while making it easier for everyone to participate in keeping things picked up. Lastly, we set a specific day and time to pick up any loose items, setting a new routine. By doing this consistently picking up became second nature for all of us and I don't have to nag anyone to comply. That's a win-win in my book.
Can nagging lead to good things? Maybe...but I find it more helpful and positive to look inward first. Then outward. What do you think about nagging?