I just came off my third and final Bat Mitzvah. That means I am now the parent of three teenagers. With my time freed up a bit, I decided to return to my first passion, my only passion really.
Nagging. I am great at it. I can really nag about anything. Their rooms, their hygiene, their clothes, their homework, their TV shows. You name it, I can nag them about it.
But this is what I know, that I think a majority of us moms know to be true; if we don’t nag them, they won’t do it, they will suffer, their lives will suffer, and one day, they will either be doing porn or star on an episode of Intervention. Only two outcomes I see.
The thing is, I’m tired. My oldest is 16 years old, youngest 13. And I’m married 20 years. Soo…. I’ve been nagging almost half my life. And I’m not sure its effective. Have I been going at this all wrong? How much of our kids’ success is Nature, Or Nagture?
Example. My middle son just started high school. If I could tell you that his school on orientation day scared the shit out of me about getting into college that I wake up screaming and sweating most nights. So,knowing what I know, I tell him he needs to join clubs, be a leader, start something that will impress colleges, like a robot that can go to the grocery store and the cleaners. He tells me I’m annoying, I tell him I don’t want him coming back to me in four years and telling that he should have listened to me. Sure I would get some satisfaction, a lot actually, but the point is I don’t want my kids to have regrets. Is it in him to do these things on his own, Nature? Or can I nag him enough to make him this person, Nagture?
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So this is the conundrum. we as parents don’t want to helicopter so much that our kids can’t do anything on their own, or make our whole relationship with them just a never ending stream of nagging. But when we see that our kids could be doing better, aren’t we compelled to intervene?
I am really struggling with this. I guess its like letting go of your kids’ bike when they first ride without training wheels, but you are desperate to hold on because they probably will fall.
I’ve decided for one week to take a vow of silence. I won’t ask them to clean their room, even if mice are crawling around. I wont ask them about homework or tests, even if Iknow one is coming. I wont tell them to wash their face, even if the pizza slice they are eating looks less greasy. And every time I feel the urge, I will drink. And buy something online. So that I will be too drunk to tell them anything, and really well dressed.
And hopefully through this experiment, I will be able to determine a happy medium. One where I am not on them constantly, one where I will be pleasantly surprised to see they are very capable human beings.
….One where they don’t run into the other room when they see me.
****I started early, look what I bought when I wanted to nag my daughter about her decision to rewatch How I Met Your Mother from Season 1.