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Parenting without nagging

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Parenting without nagging

Trying to be a responsible parent and ensuring my 15yo meets obligations at school and around the house, I am accused of nagging by son and his father. Do I just butt out or is there another way?
Star contributor

Re: Parenting without nagging

Hi @Dexter1 and thanks for joining ReachOut and sharing what's going on for you.


Can you just clarify - does your husband think that you are nagging your son too much, or him?


In terms of getting your child to do something, sometimes it's best when you offer them a reward at the end of it. For example, if you want your son to make his bed and do his homework, an "incentive" to do it might help. So, you might say that he can do something he enjoys for X amount of hours if he completes his homework. Or you could give him $5, or points that go towards buying something he likes. Just keep in mind that this tactic usually works best when the reward is seen as worth the actual task. For example, if you ask your son to clean his bedroom, do his homework, apply for jobs, wash the dog etc. and only offer him a $1 reward, then he is unlikely to do it. So you need to find something that is "worth" it to him so to speak. Rewards also need to reflect what HE considers a reward, because your idea or an adults idea of a reward may be very different from his. It also usually works best if you actually follow through on your word (i.e., the reward/punishment). So, let's say you tell your son that he should clean his room otherwise he won't get his 2 hrs of play station time, and then he doesn't clean his room, you should stick to what you said, and not give him play station time. That way you're teaching him that you mean what you say.


What do you think about this idea? Have you ever tried something similar?

Casual scribe

Re: Parenting without nagging

Thanks TOM-RO.
Yes, tried all that - highest value reward is screen time but during lockdown it’s harder to limit this one bit of ‘social interaction ‘ for an only child.
Sadly father and child call it nagging.
Dad seems keen on being the ‘good time dad’ who is up for watching tv shows etc but doesn’t remind/ nag re tasks.

Super contributor

Re: Parenting without nagging

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Hi @Dexter1, it is great that you are trialling many different solutions. It sounds like a very difficult situation to be in with no easy answer. It must be exhausting to feel like you are the only person enforcing the duties of the household. If the concern is about it being considered nagging, are you able to create a plan with the input of Dad? That way there can be an agreed way to approach tasks/responsibilities, without it appearing as nagging. You could also ensure you both have time to do enjoyable activities with your son, as well as follow up tasks and household duties. My apologies if this is something you have already tried Smiley Happy


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Active scribe

Re: Parenting without nagging


I have found that i really need to pick my battles when it comes to chores. Is the thing i am asking them to do, absolutely necessary and will my life be forever impacted if they don't do it right now?

Generally the answer is no.

In our house (16 and 12) the bedrooms are theirs to keep however they like, the only time i intervene is if there is food in there, that is a big no in our house and must be cleaned up.

The rest of the chores i will say (mainly on Saturday as the kids know that is our main cleaning day due to work) "ok, we need to clean the bathroom, kitchen and lounge room, who's doing what" this then ensues a discussion between the two of them about which job they want, and then i do what is left. They know that once they have done their part, they are free to go about their business as usual so it is usually met with little resistance as this is our routine.
At first they grumbled and moaned a little, but once they realised we were ALL doing something, they were ok.

Maybe you could try a similar approach? Have one day of the week that is cleaning day and at that time, EVERYONE (mum, dad, whoever) has a job, no one gets to sit and do their own thing until they've done their share.

Parent/Carer Community Champion

Re: Parenting without nagging

Good for you trying to raise a child who is a responsible member of society.
People do call it nagging and I think that is unfair after all would you have to nag if they did it straight away? If you like I could find you the research that shows people who are nagged are more intelligent and productive. I nearly put it on my fridge!

My kids are expected to do certain chores everyday and help clean but they get to choose when. I ask for 15 mins a day e.g. folding laundry, vacuuming, dusting etc. Chores that are not negotiable are dishwasher/washing up, rubbish and cooking. Sometimes they do 45 mins one day and skip the next couple but because I ask for only 15 mins...15 mins!...they see it isn't an unreasonable request. If they get the job done in less time all the better.

No they don't get incentives but they know they have a lot of privileges already and I am prepared to remove them. Internet and privacy are the big ones there.

Keep up the good work.
Star contributor

Re: Parenting without nagging

Hi @Dexter1 , 


Some great advice from @JAKGR8  and @IppyMum4305  here, you're definitely not alone in feeling like it's very hard work convincing your teenager to pull their weight around the house, but as @JAKGR8  it's such an important part of helping them become a responsible adult. It may not seem like it to them now, but nobody wants to move in with someone at age 19 who has no idea how to clean a loo, cook a meal or clean up after themselves! 


I really feel for you when you said that you're the only adult who's working at setting expectations and following through on this, with your husband wanting to be the "fun dad" more. That sounds really tough on you. I'm wondering if you've ever brought this up with him? I imagine it would make it even more difficult for you to set reasonable expectations, if your son then sees Dad treating it as a joke and accusing you of nagging. 


I also hear you on how hard it is to remove screen time in these times - my oldest child is slightly younger than yours, but we do remove 'recreational' screen time privileges from her if basic chores aren't done once we've asked a few times - so she can still complete school work, but can't watch Netflix or look at Tik Tok for example. 


I also found a list of chores to be ticked off on the fridge to be something that was helpful for my family - both as a visual reminder, and a way for us all to see that there's a certain amount of things that just have to  be done as part of running the household. I think at 15, it's pretty reasonable to expect a certain level of contribution to this side of things and a visual reminder can be a helpful way to remind people, to reduce the need for verbal reminders. 


I hope you're getting on ok with it all, please keep us posted on how you're all going Smiley Happy 

Casual scribe

Re: Parenting without nagging

Thank you @JAKGR8 @IppyMum4305 Janine-RO - I really appreciate you taking the time to provide some advice. At least I know I’m not going mad!
We decided that for this week my partner should take responsibility for ensuring tasks are done - so let’s see how it goes.
Again, thank you.
Casual scribe

Re: Parenting without nagging

Hi Dexter, there is no really parenting book guide we can use as each individual has different personalities. What is good to mine might not be good to yours.


However, I would like you to know that basically I am also a nagging mom. A single parent now. There dad used to spoiled them with material things before. He would constantly oppose my decision in favor of what my kids want, notwithstanding if it will be good for them or not. He is competing with me for my kids attention.


I have to discuss with him the consequences if the kids grow up not taught on how to be responsible and independent, how they gonna become a problem not only to the family but to the society if proper discipline won't be instilled to them at an early age. I suggested to make the kids feel that we as couple are one in our decision when it comes to their welfare. In cases, never contradict the other in front of the kids, we can talk always talk about it in the absence of the children but never to argue in front of them. 


There are times that I feel like they my kids are keeping their distance from me because of my nagging. What I did is, I still keep with my rules inside the house but I see to it that I would also be spending quality bonding time with them after the house chores, an hour or two. Along, I would gently explain to them why mommy nags. I would kiss and hug them, making them feel that despite my nagging, I love them so much. I will also cook them food and sometimes I will just get home with an aquarium, a puppy or a pizza, telling them that I have seen their effort to help me and I am giving them what they want as appreciation for being industrious.  


It was a struggle, but after a year or two, here they are, they have grown to be responsible kids. For a year of my son is taking care of washing the dishes, mopping the floor without complain. My 10 year old daughter knows her regular task and that is to feed the dog, clean the table, refill the water jugs. I show them that I am doing my part of course, I clean the bathroom and bedroom. 


Planning t surprise them of a pet cat soon, or a buffet dinner outside when this pandemic crises is over, that is how I reward them. I rarely reward them with money.