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On repeat.

They say that when you are thinking of what to name your child, you really need to love it because it will probably be the word you say the most for the next 18 years, at least. How true that is. I literally cannot count the number of times I call my children per day. I was complaining to my husband the other day that no one tells you that one of the most tiring parts of parenthood isn't a physical aspect. It is the constant need to repeat yourself. I find that I have to repeat most sentences multiple times before they get any sort of reaction out of my children (most especially my five-year-old). Things like "Eat your breakfast," "Take a shower," "Change your clothes," and "Be nice to your brother," are all in my repertoire of sentences said (and yelled) over 50 times each and every day. And by the way, in the beginning, all requests are prefaced by "please" but by the fifth or sixth repetition, the appeal evolves into an order.

It certainly isn't what I envisioned when I signed up for parenthood. To my horror, I have become a nagging mom. It is something I wanted to avoid at all costs. After all, who wants to be a nag, on repeat. It's no fun at all for everyone involved, most especially me. But is it inevitable?

I decided to research on ways to reduce the amount of nagging in our home and found a few resources espousing different ways to crank down nagging. Here are the two strategies that made sense to me.

Why do we nag in the first place? Many reasons. But the most common one is your child not listening to you, doing something that they should be doing, or, they are saying/doing something that is unacceptable. And so we nag to curb or change their behavior. More often than not, nagging doesn't lead to behavioral change and it just leaves us, the parents, exhausted and resentful, not to mention the child who usually winds up indignant. Here's something helpful to repeat in your head 20 times or more like a mantra: "My child is only ___ years old." It may seem silly but by repeating this statement in your head before you blow a gasket, it will help you calm down and remember that your child is only a certain age and, as a result, is not always capable of performing to our expectations.

One thing to remember when you're trying to lessen your nagging is to surrender your control. Your inner control freak will probably be yelling "hell no!" right about now. Your kid is, well, exactly that, a kid, and he needs to be told what to do and when to do it. Right? How can you relinquish power to a five-year-old? Perhaps, it is easier to attempt to switch your mind set. Instead of thinking that you have to cede some sort of authority to your child, think about it as going with the flow for a while. Once the reins of constraint are loosened, your child may surprise you. Of course, this is much easier said than done because, initially, your child will just do his own thing and the temptation to nag him will be overpowering. It's all about trying to modify your behavior, so you can change others'. Since nagging is effective about 20 percent of the time (not a good batting average), you may need to use a different tactic. Try discussing with your child why he isn't doing what you told him to do. Ask him what you can do to help. Perhaps, he has an issue that prevents him from doing so.

It all sounds so simple but as parents, letting go and taking mental timeouts during tightly wound parent-child encounters is one of the toughest things to do. I think it is worth a shot though, considering the success rate of nagging is virtually nil.

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Title Annotation:Moms & Kids
Publication:Manila Bulletin
Date:Feb 28, 2015
Words:694
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