I am a nag. I am not proud of this fact. This is not a role I ever aspired to achieve, in fact, quite the contrary. I remember back to my own tween and teen years. I made a promise to myself that when I became a mom, I would never nag my children. I can still hear my own mother’s words ringing in my ears “Put your clothes away, do your homework, clear the table….”
What I did not know then, but have come to realize as a parent myself is that nagging can be an addictive habit. In a perfect world, you could tell your children to do something once and voila, like magic they would run to do what you asked.
The reality is however, that just because you cannot tolerate their clothes on the floor or their homework waiting to be done, doesn’t mean they see it the same way.
A common quandary I have is whether they would do what I ask them to do if I did not nag. Would the clothes get picked up and the homework be completed on time? And, if it did not, would the consequences of their actions or lack there of, encourage them to complete these tasks in the future? The problem is that as their parent, I am not sure I am willing or able to tolerate the consequences they would receive if they do not. Of course the irony here is that as their parent, I am also the purveyor of the consequences. While I am not good at holding my tongue, I am consistently consistent with implementing consequences. Which I can honestly say is often quite effective.
With that said then, one would imagine I would have no need to nag. I have realized however, that it is a habit that has become compulsive. I nag not because it motivates them to complete the task, but because it relieves the distress and anxiety I am experiencing in the moment at the thought that they won’t follow through.
I do not recommend nagging. When I hear myself nag, I actually become annoyed. Nagging is not necessary, but the truth be told, sometimes, it feels like the only way to get things done.