Saturday, October 23, 2010

The Nagging Cycle

I love how my kids seem to think that nagging is something I do because I want to. Like I do it for no reason. I consider myself to be quite patient-- even if I have asked my children to do something (or stop doing something) many times before, I will often give them days, if not weeks, only asking every couple of days for it to be taken care of. If, at that point, the problem still exists, I just may force the issue a bit and begin to nag in earnest. 

It usually goes something like this:

Me: "Please stop leaving your clothes on the floor of the bathroom. I've asked you many times before, and it makes it really difficult to use the sink. Plus, I know they're not all dirty but it's not my job to go through them. If you could go separate them out, put the dirty clothes where they go so they can be washed and the clean away in your drawer, I'd appreciate it."

The Offender: "SORRY!" (but they don't go do it)

A few days later I ask again.

The Offender: "I WILL!" (but they don't go do it)

A few days later... 

The Offender: "OKAAAAY!" (but they don't go do it)

It's been more than a week now and it's still there. In fact, it's been added to. See? (Oh and ignore the sponge painted cabinets-- it's NOT my house)

When I ask again today I will get the extremely exasperated "OKAAAY! I WIIIILLL! STOP NAGGING! Geez! You're such a nag! Why do you have to nag me so much?"

It is then that I will sit The Offender down and say, "Well, let's see. Let's examine your role in The Nagging Cycle in this instance. What part are you playing to contribute to its continuance?"

They love it. 

I just refuse to let my children continue on with the notion that nagging is just something that I do as an annoying mom, that they are without fault, and that I should just stop without them changing anything about their behavior. It's just not so. 

Actually, depending on how the hormones are raging (on both sides, I admit), I often have success with our examination of The Nagging Cycle. Frequently, they see my point and go do what they are asked to do and, sometimes, continue doing what I ask with promptness for a few days. It's so nice when reminders are met with pleasantness and quick action rather than orneriness and no action for weeks. 

I really have the best results when I bring it up at a later, less-heated time. Like, maybe, when we're enjoying a nice cup of hot cocoa together, or are creating something fabulous in the kitchen. "You know when you asked me why I nag so much? Well, it goes back to The Nagging Cycle that we've talked about before..."

My hair guy thinks it's pretty funny that I've coined a term for it, but I really can't believe it hasn't already been done. I mean, it's not just my household that is affected. It's a huge phenomenon! I will continue on in my research of The Nagging Cycle in hopes of one day helping not only my own family, but those in the entire nation. Nay, the ENTIRE WORLD! I've always wanted to contribute.


janeannechovy said...

Just wanted to make sure your readers know that the sponge-painted bathroom cabinets aren't Mom's doing, either. And one of these years we *will* take care of them!

jww said...

LOVE this post! This is SO TRUE! Not just your house. Definitely not. My oldest so far is the only one who gets annoyed when I speak, but he has yet to see his part in the whole cycle. I'm totally with you, though, on not just letting him/them think that it's something I do for fun, or something I do mindlessly. They HAVE to see their part in it. I always tell him that HE is the solution. Don't want me to nag? Here's how you fix that. And, yes, please do continue your research and reporting because the world can definitely benefit! :)

John R said...

I knew at least one of my kids would end up a "researcher". And you can write, too! Often research doesn't get recorded in a way that can be helpful to others. Go for it!