Nagging is deceptive.
You see, you may think you are encouraging your child, maybe pushing him a bit, but to your child, the behavior screams loud and clear NAG, NAG, NAG.
There is a fine line parents often cross in their desire to encourage and motivate a child. That line is the difference between nagging your child–a tactic that he will start to tune out–and encouraging him–a tactic he desperately need.
How do you know when you’ve crossed that Nagging line?
- When you’ve been talking for awhile to your child, “encouraging” them, and suddenly you notice that he is simply staring at you or at nothing, with a lost-in-space look on his face. He’s tuned you out. He isn’t listening because your “encouragement” has take morphed into nagging.
- When your child turns and walks away. He can’t even muster the decency to “listen” because he’s fed up with the drippy faucet parenting approach.
- You have constant deja vu moments from repeating yourself so much because the repetition is going in your child’s one ear and out the other.
- Your child’s motivation–if that’s what you are trying to “encourage”–continues to sink.
- Your child clams up about practice, the game, or anything else to do with sports. He knows what you are going to say and doesn’t want to hear it. He may not seem angry, but he is not communicative either.
- When you notice that your “encouraging” focuses more on what your child shouldbe doing, rather than on the positive that has happened.
- When it seems that you are motivated for your child to improve and succeed more than your child is. Your motivation is not going to seep into your child; he must come up with his own.
- When you have to constantly use bribing or coercion tactics to get your child to work harder. I’m all for positive reinforcement, but there comes a point when your child should work hard out of his own desire, not for reward.
- When you feel frustrated that you can’t think of anything to say that will help, but you keep talking anyway. If you feel at a loss for meaningful words that will help, it’s probably a good time to stop “encouraging” and start listening and loving.
- When you keep thinking of good points or profound motivational wisdom to share with your child, even though they haven’t asked. One or two is okay, but a constant barrage can be perceived as definite overkill.
Any of these sound familiar to you? I’m embarrassed to admit that I crossed the line from nagging to encouragement many times in 21 years of sports parenting; I know these 10 indicators well. Fortunately, I caught myself before too much damage was done.
If you see yourself in any of these over-the-line behaviors, it’s not too late to pull back from nagging and focus on true encouragement.