One of my main goals for the Happiness Project has been to stop nagging, for three reasons. First, people don’t like being nagged. Second, nagging doesn’t work. Third – and I didn’t really understand this until I’d cut back on my nagging – it makes me feel bad about myself. I don’t like feeling a shrewish, badgering person.
I hit on several strategies to stop nagging the Big Man, and I’ve managed to improve. One Wednesday, I posted a list of tips for getting to do your sweetheart to do chores–without nagging that worked for me.
Once I started paying attention to my nagging, I realized that I also nag the Big Girl quite a bit (the Little Girl is still too young to be a target for nagging).
In particular, my nagging takes the form of repeating instructions over and over, before giving her a chance to comply.
For example, the Big Girl was supposed to bring an extra pair of shoes to school today. I reminded her at breakfast. I reminded her while she was getting dressed. Then, as I was putting the Little Girl into the stroller for the walk to school, I started to yell a reminder.
But I thought—no. Don’t nag. Not only is my nagging an aggravation, it shows that I don’t think she can remember to get the shoes on her own. Two reminders was already one more than necessary.
I choked back my words, and sure enough, she showed up a few minutes later with the spare shoes in her hand.