I’m Not Nagging But…There’s More to say Here.
Last Memo I took up the gauntlet about the age-old issue of Nagging. I attempted to outline why this common household and classroom behavior just doesn’t work. Now, let me put some more teeth into the discussion.
Nagging begins with three fundamental false assumptions by adults: 1- The child/teen/young person is going to act responsibly. 2- The young person is going to act responsibly on your time schedule. 3- The young person is going to perform this action exactly how you would. 97.532% of the time. None of these assumptions will prove true and when they don’t…that’s when the nagging begins.
That brings us to Step 1 in our anti-nagging rehab: Eliminate your expectations.
Explaining Step 1 leads to rehab Step 2: Young people need clear, specific, and supervised rules. You can use the terms, ‘structure’ or even ‘chores’ interchangeably with ‘rules.’ Don’t leave performance up to “expectations” you may have for your child or your household. (**See note below.) Step 3: Your rules always need consequences attached and these consequences are for compliance with the rules/structure and for lack of compliance. Consequence for compliance = reward and consequence for non-compliance = punishment. Rehab Step 4: Shorten your communications about rules. Nagging easily becomes a habit in most people and obtains a life of its own long after the need has vanished. This bad habit is the cause of tremendous relationship irritation and defiance. If you are practicing steps 1 thru 3, then practice keeping your words to a minimum about rules. You have made them clear, they are specific, and you are supervising the performance of the rules. Words are not needed. BTW, this leaves your words between you and the young person to be about more important things such as common interests, current events, upcoming needs, what’s for dinner and the weather. (If you live in Iowa.) Rehab Step 5: Parenting/Educating young people is frustrating. Nagging Words are often just you expressing frustration. Instead of planting these words on the young person (**) contact your Nagging Rehab Sponsor—which could be your spouse, a fellow parent, a fellow teacher, a co-worker, boss, etc. Discharge those words on them until they exclaim: “Call someone else to Bit…h to!” Then find a new sponsor.
So, how do we know you have successfully completed your nagging rehab? Easy, the young person (**) performs the duties/rules to satisfaction with less and less direct supervision by you. And voila’ this is a clear sign they are maturing. A side benefit!
Final note: Another cause of the Nagging Fight is that the young person (**) will beg for leniency on the time when they will perform the duty. You know what? I think that is Ok as long as they then follow-through with the duty at the time they negotiated. Keep in mind; as in rehab Step #1 above, your agenda/expectation is not their agenda. Halo level 6 is more important to them than the smelly fish in the garbage. Understand this and eliminate the fights. Remember from last Memo:
YELLING IS A SIGN YOU’VE ALREADY LOST
**FYI all of these tips work for spouses, employees and co-workers as well as young people.