We've said it before, and it needs repeating. Moms often nag big kids, and it is often for a good reason. It is rarely appreciated, of course, but as it turns out, our energy spent on nagging is not wasted. Research has shown that our nagging has a positive outcome: kids grow up to be more successful. In fact, researchers from The University of Essex say our daughters in particular benefit more from our nagging.
According to the research, the more we nag, the girls were less likely to become teenage mothers, get stuck in low-paying jobs or remain unemployed for long periods. They are also more likely to attend college, earn more, and be with successful partners. The researchers, led by researcher and lead study author Ericka Rascon-Ramirez, Ph.D, studied the experiences of more than 15,000 British girls aged 13 and 14 over a 10-year period.
However, it's not just the act of nagging that makes an impact in your daughter's life. Our high expectations of our girls help to push them to a good start. "In many cases we succeeded in doing what we believed was more convenient for us, even when this was against our parents’ will. But no matter how hard we tried to avoid our parents’ recommendations, it is likely that they ended up influencing, in a more subtle manner, choices that we had considered extremely personal,” Dr. Rascon-Ramirez said. While the study focused on teenage girls, teenage boys can also be influenced by a mom's nagging.
Any parent with a tween or teen knows all too well the eye-rolling, door-slamming, and "I hate you" comebacks. It's nice to know it may be all worth it, yes, but it could also take a toll on your relationship with your child. Here are some tips to keep in mind when nagging your kids:
1. Give yourself time to calm down. You don’t want to say something you’ll regret afterwards. Take deep breathes and count to 10 before you open your mouth and nag in anger. You'll have a few moments to think straight and go through how you're going to phrase your "nagging." Don't let anger get the better of you.
2. It's not what you say, it's how you say it. Harris Stratyner, Ph.D., a psychologist at the Mount Sinai Medical Center, cautions about the tone of your voice when nagging your child. Nagging can damage a child’s self-esteem, so remember to not blame or shame your child. Focus on the task not being done instead of the person not doing it.
3. Offer suggestions on how your child can accomplish her tasks. What's important is to show your teen that you are both on the same team -- hers. It tells him you’re willing to help, but not do the task for him.
4. Say thank you and appreciate your kids' efforts. When your child puts in the work and accomplishes his tasks, laud his efforst and say thank you, advises Christine Agro, founder of The Conscious Mom's Guide. "When you ask your teenager to take on more responsibility, explain to them what exactly that means," she says.
5. Stop yourself from "aggressive nagging." Psychotherapist Molly Barrow, Ph.D., defines this kind of nagging as a "constant, no-let-up stream of criticism from a frustrated or angry [person] who simply cannot be satisfied." This kind of nagging does not to help someone else." Nagging can be positive and constuctive.
Bonus: These nagging guidelines could have a positive effect on the hubby, too!