So, jumping into parenting at the teen phase has taught me countless things, but this post is about one personality quirk of mine in particular.
I am a nag.
I know that my nagging is closely related to my control freakdom.
I nag Hope.
I kinda feel like I have to. She doesn’t do the things I ask when I ask; she barely does chores (even chore money doesn’t motivate her!). The levels of teenage apathy astound me. They are shocking, in part, because my parents never allowed it; so it’s was inconceivable to even consider not listening and responding as an option.
So, I am a nag. I also realize that I have a personality that is just naturally inclined to be naggy.
Surprise! Nagging actually doesn’t seem to be the most effective parenting method. #gofigure I mean, it can be useful, but really, it mostly serves to get me all riled up, and it gets Hope all snarky, and then I fantasize about putting her ish out on the balcony.
I want Hope to be successful, and I know that there are times when I really do have to help her because 1) she’s a kid and 2) she has some challenges that really require my help. All that said, I’m tired of being a harpy mom.
For the month of August I am committing to focusing on natural consequences.
- Oh, you chose to spend your last $6 on an icee at the movie theater after I offered to take you to 7-11 for a $2 slurpee and now you’re mad? Too bad, so sad.
- Oh, you don’t want to watch a couple videos on sentence diagramming, which you’re supposed to already know? Hmmm, OK.
- Oh, you’re too busy to read that second book so you can write the report that’s due on the first day of school? Hmmm, well, maybe honors English isn’t for you.
- Oh, you don’t want to tidy up that apocalypse called your room but you want to invite someone over to hang this weekend? I can’t go for that…no…nooo…no can do.
- You haven’t meaningfully done chores in 4 weeks but you want to keep your cell phone and you want me to take you to the amusement park? #nope
And on and on, until the break of dawn.
One night this week, in an epic fit of passive, aggressive “helpful” parenting, I logged into her Google calendar and put in every chore, all her activities and appointments along with convenient reminders for every one of them, including the things that she is supposed to do daily. She will be buzzing nonstop between 6:30 and 8pm daily. Do I think I will make much difference? Maybe, maybe not. But I figure by Monday evening when a bunch of them are going off, she will become annoyed and either make different choices than she does now, she will confront me or she will simply be ok with hitting the ignore button.
Elihu tried to get me to use some app that would let me know whether she did something or not. I replied that I didn’t want such a notification. I’d rather *see* her actually doing stuff. I rationalize that the calendar set up alleviates my need to stay on her to do the things she needs to do. If they don’t get done, well, it’s not because she didn’t have reminders.
I’m hopeful, even if a bit naïve. We’ll see, I guess.
Trying to teach Hope some responsibility has been really hard…really hard. I love her so very much. Each day, I do see these challenges of proof that we are getting closer and closer to some sort of normal. Even though it feels like my pressure is through the roof, I know that these are common parenting issues, and that…that is good.
So, for now, I’m really committed to using natural consequences in helping Hope learn some responsibility. The nagging is just too exhausting, and it doesn’t seem to be effective anyway, so here goes!