Nurture rather than nag

Nurture rather than nag is an excellent piece of advice I picked up very recently from a lovely neighbour who had a child complete Year 12 (very successfully) last year. She picked it up from a friend around a similar time year last year as her son started Year 12.

This is the perfect example of what I was talking about in my post Sharing the wisdom, where I was asking for volunteers for a podcast series I am creating. As parents we reflect on our parenting and can pass on nuggets of wisdom that allow others to benefit from our experience, knowledge and of course the benefit of hindsight. I am so thrilled at the number of responses I had for the podcast so many parents prepared to share their wisdom! I have received many more response than I thought I would, so I have now closed the form now – thanks so much to everyone who filled out the form and I will be in touch over the next couple of days.

But back to nurture rather than nag…..

What does nurture rather than nag mean to me?

If you have been following along with my parenting journey, you will know I have been very much finding my feet in the teenager arena. Letting go is something I have been working on as I realise it is something teenagers need, it is what our relationships need and it I am not always great at it.

letting go - teenagers

In my post last year called Letting Go I wrote:

I needed to accept that I missed another change point. I hadn’t let go of some control and handed it over to him as he had grown and developed. We had tried in small bursts before, but found he didn’t self regulate very well so went back to the parents having more control.

I realised that there was an important part of the letting go process that I hadn’t let him experience when we had tried allowing him to self regulate before – natural consequences. I had stepped in before he could see the impact (or not) of him regulating his own technology use.

This year my challenge with letting go is again with my eldest son who is in Year 12. And I need to let go of commenting (nagging) about his approach to his studies. He always meets his deadlines, he has the knowledge and ability to plan his workload and he is a capable student. How he goes about his studies at the moment is very different to what I think is optimal, but if I reflect on my own behaviour in my last year of school, I was very similar.

He has matured much over the last couple of years and I need to show him I trust him by dropping the nagging about homework. For me this doesn’t mean not mentioning it ever again. I am still taking interest, asking questions and on the odd occasion offering suggestions, but I am absolutely trying not to make negative comments or tell him what to do with regard to his homework.

I want to be supportive in his final year of studies and not cause any additional stress. He knows what he needs to do and I am trying to encourage this in a non nagging way. I am doing small things to make sure he is eating well, resting and exercising – and doing it as best I can without encroaching on his personal space.

At the end of this year he will be 18 and an adult! While I know my intentions are good, I have to allow him the space to grow and learn on his own.

As with all parenting, receiving this succinct reminder to nurture rather than nag has prompted me to focus on it and I am going to take this approach with all the kids. I don’t think I nag all the time, but I do nag more than I like. I know I won’t have a 100% hit rate with it. I will get tired, frustrated and I will nag at times, but I don’t want this to be my default approach.

What about you? Have you thought about nurture vs nag?