No one wants to be a nag.

But we can easily become one when we feel our children just aren’t listening. If nagging is the norm in your household and you are desperate for another way, read on.

It’s all in the parenting approach

Most of us parent by instruction. Instructing children what to do and when, this is where the problem lies. Children start to get tired of this approach, the constant nagging at them and the lack of freedom.

Most children want to make their own decisions and are desperate to feel heard.

Nagging not only causes rebellion in children, but also a child who learns to be a pleaser, does what they are told to keep out of trouble. They end up putting their own needs last to please others and this can develop into unfulfilled wishes and indecisiveness later in life.

Alternative to being a nag

By giving children age-related choices with consequences, you are building a lifelong skill. We make choices all day, and if the outcome is negative, we make another choice.

Children need this skill to cope with life so they are confident to make their own decisions in life. Choices build self esteem and allow children to learn in their own time. This approach to parenting fosters their independence and confidence, which is needed to cope with the challenges of life.

How to stop nagging

  1. Let go of any superiority and treat them with equality.
  2. Give age-related choices with consequences so they are informed.
  3. Patience. Children learn in their own time. They might make 3 choices with negative outcomes before they learn to make a choice with a positive outcome, but they will learn.
  4. Give them choices around what clothes they want to wear as young as possible.
  5. Start simple, with two choices explaining outcomes.
  6. Support good choices.
  7. Let them express themselves. No one likes to feel repressed.
  8. Let go of expectations. Let them grow into who they are meant to be.
  9. Take a long-term approach rather than a short-term fix. Embrace growing independent and confident young individuals by building lifelong skills.
  10. Enjoy parenting! Let go of telling children what to do all the time and let them learn, express themselves, and grow into the beautiful people they are.

Children are our greatest teachers. If you are a bossy parent, instructional parent, authoritarian, nagging, controlling or ridiculing, they will respond through their behaviour. Before raising your voice, repeating the same thing over and over take a minute to step back and have a look at your tone, your voice, your energy and the words you are using.

How would you like to be spoken to that way? Remember, children will mirror you because they learn from you. Take accountability and be the first one to change and children usually respond positively.

The power of parenting is real and your actions can last a life time.

Do you have any other tips to add? Share with us in the comments.

  • Thank you for your thoughts and tips.


  • Some of this seems like a bit silly advice. Particularly the idea that you shouldn’t have expectations. Of course you should. Children also need to learn they have responsibilities and so forth. So there can be a balance of allowing them to “grow at their own pace” and regimented parenting.


  • I agree with some of these but I think parents are often sidelined now in order to raise a healthy, balanced, independent child. I really think it depends on each kid! The parent needs to set boundaries absolutely! Allowing them choice and independence within these boundaries – absolutely, but you can’t let them run the whole show.


  • We were never given clothes choices as young as children are now. We were given something suitable for the weather and whether we were staying home or going out. If you are going to give your children choices while they are small put the out of season clothing out of sight. You will save your child and yourself some hassles.


  • I have found that I am using a few of these tips already. I used to nag but found it didn’t work so now ask for something to be done and, if it isn’t just tell them not to worry, I’ll do it myself as I know how busy life can get for him. Now he does things when I ask him to do it but only if he can find the time. It’s certainly made a big difference


  • Not a nice thing to listen too is it.


  • Great tips. I used to have a friend who could nag a fair bit, it goes under your skin ! Nagging is certainly not behavior a balanced adult should show, it’s rather childlike behavior and similar to wincing and whining. We as adult should set the right example and coping strategies to our children indeed.


  • Fantastic post – not just with children either if we are honest.


  • Nagging doesn’t get you anywhere,being nice and positive works so much better.

    • Nagging can also be a never ending cycle that goes round and round and gets you know where. I agree – being positive is a much better way.


  • That’s the children sorted, now what about the husband!


  • Great article – you have certainly covered all the basics/options here!


  • Absolutely a work-in-progress. Great tips and ideas and some days they work, some days they don’t. It depends on what’s going on in our lives at that moment in time. I think we do it well a lot of the time… but my teen son probably says we nag. I say we care !!


  • No one likes to be nagged and by putting yourself in their shoes it stops!


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