We don’t want our teenage children to forget everything they need, so we start reminding and nagging them – even though we know it doesn’t work, even though we know it can be destructive, even though it does more harm than good. But we do it anyway because we don’t want to see them fail and we don’t know what else to do. Here is how you can stop nagging your teens (and why you should).
Instead of nagging, take a step back and pause
Is your nagging or what you’re about to comment on really worth it? Or is it something that your teen is sensitive about? Think about it. You don’t want them to feel as though their feelings aren’t important. So before you comment, think about how they are feeling. It’s easy in the moment to comment without thinking. But your teen will remember what you said and could take it to heart. Teenage years are sensitive years that shouldn’t be taken lightly. And in order for them to feel comfortable with you, you need to ensure that you find the right way to comment on the situation. Otherwise, it could result in a massive argument that neither of you wants to be dealing with.
Listen to them otherwise, they will stop listening to you
Nagging can grow tiresome – both for you and for your teen. So instead of constantly nagging them to do something, ask them politely and listen to why they haven’t already done the task at hand. If they are continuously playing a video game or watching a film when you’ve asked them to do a chore, find out (in a calm way) why they haven’t already done it. You can then compromise with them – for example, you can pause the film and ask them to do the chores, after which they can continue watching. It’s all about how you say something. So you might not feel respected by them. But have you ever thought about whether you are showing them the respect they deserve?
If you comment instead of nag, they can find an alternative way of doing a task, without them feeling like you forced them into it. Another way you could do this is if there are two tasks to be done, compromise – you do one of the jobs and they do the other. This will get them done quicker and will show that you aren’t just making your teen do everything.
Plan to sit down ever so often to talk to them
Just like adults, teens need a break too. They don’t want to constantly feel as though they are under pressure to do something – their lives can be stressful with school and other commitments. You need to understand this and ask them to do chores respectfully. Plan to sit down with them and talk to them. Setting out a plan of action is a great way to ensure that your teen doesn’t just see you as someone that is constantly asking them to do something. Instead, you can sit and talk to them.
Don’t text, ask them in person
In the modern age, it’s easy to text your teen if you want them to do something. But in a way, this is an even more annoying method that constantly asking them in person. Asking them over text is a very impersonal way that can cause a detrimental reaction in them. Yes, they might be a little obsessed with technology and always on their phone, but this doesn’t mean this should be the only way that you communicate with them. Talk to them and ask them.
Why you should stop
Ok, so this might be easier said than done. But if you don’t stop nagging them they will just grow to resent you. In the long term, it won’t work and your relationship with them will lose its strength. If you have been nagging them to do something (i.e. complete an assignment) if they don’t do it, that’s their fault. Now, it might sound like tough love, but they need to be responsible and understand that without doing something that’s important there will be consequences. Everyone learns from their mistakes and this is a step that should be taken by everyone that’s transitioning into adulthood.
As they are now a teen and not a child, they need to know that it will be them that suffers the consequences if they do something wrong. Guide them in the right direction, but don’t overbear them and continue to nag them. Often, they just start to ignore you if that’s all you are doing. Stop nagging and find an alternative way of asking them to do something. This will result in the task in hand getting done more efficiently and for your teen to still have (at least a little bit) of respect for you. Teens can be stubborn and dramatic at times, but you shouldn’t add to this drama and frustrate them by being a nag.