NWI Parent

Nag, nag, nag

November 8th, 2011 - By Julia Huisman

I hate admitting this, but the older Isabella gets, the more of a nag I become. Every waking moment, it seems, I’m reminding her to do this or that: “Brush your teeth… make your lunch… stop doing handstands on the couch… wake up NOW… why haven’t you brushed your teeth yet?!” It feels like I spend more time nagging her than I do in any other kind of conversation with her. Even I’m annoyed by my voice.

I know I’m not alone. It is simply the nature of a parent, particularly mothers, to nag at their kids. I know this because my mother nagged me, which I said I’d never do. Now that I’m a mom, I feel horrible that I put my own mother through such torture. Sorry, Mom!

What is the alternative? How do we get our children to do what they should without having to yip in their ear every 30 seconds? How do kids become self-sufficient enough to not need their mothers’ incessant nagging? Do we let them learn the hard way? That works sometimes, I’m sure, but not others.

For example, I’m so tempted to not prompt Isabella to do anything for one morning so that she misses her bus (because she totally would), but then what? She would love for her “punishment” to be that I have to take her to school, or that she has to stay home from school. These are luxuries, not penalties! And she’s too young to walk to school. So somehow I need to come up with a more suitable alternative.

While I’m a big proponent for discipline and firm parenting when it’s called for, I also feel that positive reinforcement is more impactful than the negative kind. My nagging is not fun for anyone involved, and oftentimes Isabella and I end up getting into arguments because of it. Perhaps if I keep my cool and speak in a more positive light, she’ll listen better and be more inclined to obey the first time around? I shall try and see…

Filed under: parent.

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