Hey! You come here, go there, do this, do that, shut up, I will spank you, and many more of such words spoken in harsh tone have become part of many parents in raising their children.
Nagging in interpersonal communication, is repetitious behaviour in the form of pestering, hectoring, or otherwise continuously urging an individual to complete previously discussed requests or act on advice.
Most children become resentful because of the way their parents nag at them. Fifteen-year-old Ramat always carried a long face whenever you saw her. She always seemed unhappy.
She said she was not happy the way her mother nagged at her and her younger ones. “She likes shouting at us and ordering us around. She doesn’t talk gently to us but always talked at the top of her voice,” the young teen said.
Childdevelopmentinfo.com states that ‘nagging creates resentment and may produce an angry response in your children, and make them resent you’.
“The task you are nagging about becomes the last thing they want to do. Nagging says, in effect, “I will stop punishing you with this annoying nagging when you do what I want you to do.”, the site stated.
A Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychologist, Dr Robert Myers, in his book, ‘Guidelines for Parent-Child Communication’, said nagging our children doesn’t work, instead parents should make their words matter by not nagging.
He said, parenting is a challenging job and, along the way, we may pick up some bad habits without realising it. “One of these is nagging.”
Dr Myers said in an effort to protect our children and prevent them from suffering the consequences of their behaviour, parents begin to intimidate, scold and complain. As our children grow into teenagers and start making their own choices, we feel a loss of control that makes us uncomfortable. The simple truth, though, is: Nagging doesn’t work. In fact, it can actually make our children become overly dependent, stop listening, and feel incompetent.”
The clinical psychologist said, nagging is about us, not our children, adding that when we do it, we should realise our lives are out of balance and changes are needed.
He explained that nagging is a highly ineffective and destructive method of motivating our children.
Dr Myers argues that nagging poisons the parent-child relationship because it is so unpleasant adding that children simply tune it out and the more you nag, the less they hear. And “When it’s time to have a truly meaningful conversation about an important topic (drugs, sex, grades), parents may find their youngsters don’t want to listen.”
He advises parents not to nag their teenagers because it causes them to feel manipulated. Wanting to assert their independence and make their own decisions, teens become strong-willed and even defiant when parents pressure them to do something. Instead of feeling threatened by this, parents should see it as a normal, healthy part of growing up and separating from parental authority.