A better way beyond nagging

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A better way beyond nagging

NAGGING is something that is practised by parents on their children for generations. I do believe it’s something that exists in every culture. It’s probably written somewhere that you must nag your kids at least once a day. Otherwise, how would you explain the amount of nagging that goes on?

Yet, no one likes to be nagged. When I get nagged at, I just shut down after a few words. It creates a tense and negative atmosphere which can lead to hurt feelings, resentment and anger.

So, what can parents do to send their message across?

One effective way is to focus on the action or behaviour, not the person.

In the heat of the moment, it’s easy to forget that we’re upset with the action (or lack of), not with the person whom we love.

Mastering this skill requires a lot of patience, a cool head and practise.

Let’s look at some examples of focusing on action. Let say your son forgot to wash his school shoes. Instead of saying, “What’s wrong with you? How can you forget what you’ve been doing every week?”, we pinpoint the action by saying, “Son, is there something else you need to do today?”

Another example: Your daughter has broken a glass while in the kitchen. You get angry and say, “My God! Why are you so clumsy?” That doesn’t actually help to point out the wrong action. To focus on the action, we should say, “Please be careful next time. Walk slowly and hold the glass carefully. You could have injured yourself.”


Can you see the difference? When we focus on the action, we remove the blame and bad labels on the children.

At the same time, we’re pointing them in the right direction. No one likes to be blamed and labelled as lazy or clumsy. But children can accept if they’ve done something wrong.

Labelling, criticising and nagging are usually associated with harsh words — the surest way to hurt people’s feelings. And here we’re talking about an innocent, tender life.

Hurt feelings will lead to anger and resentment. Some of the hurt can even last a lifetime. No amount of apology can undo the damage. This isn’t a conducive environment for building a happy home or nurturing brighter kids.

Therefore, it’s extremely important that we learn to control our own emotions when dealing with potentially damaging situations.

Always remember to focus on the action, not the person. Keep this in mind. Practise it again and again till you perfect it.

Not only will it make you feel better, it’ll also make your children more responsive and unlikely to repeat the same thing again.

It also maintains positive relationships no matter how unpleasant the situation gets.

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