Think back to your childhood and you might remember something your mum used to do that was as reliable as clockwork: nag, nag, nag!
Click start to play today’s Spell It, where you can create the word “nagging” from the letters provided.
It turns out that mum wasn’t wrong to do so. A March 2015 study by the UK-based University of Essex assessed the experiences of 15,500 British girls between the ages of 13 and 14, for a duration of six years. They found that high parental expectations led to their daughters’ success later in life. And when the main parent – usually the mother in most cultures – set extremely high standards for their daughter’s education, the girls were more likely to go to college and land better-paying jobs.
The importance of a pushy mum was especially noted when observing teens who ranked low in academics – they often had no such support at home to encourage them to do well.
But how is a parent to know if all that nagging is working?
Interestingly, the researchers also noted that the more it seems like your advice is falling on deaf ears, the more it might be working. No matter how hard teens tried to avoid their parents’ recommendations, they said it ended up influencing their choices.
But of course, there is a difference between constant nagging and more positive actions like establishing goals, setting guidelines and teaching values. According to child behaviour education website, Empowering Parents, too much nagging might make a child feel controlled, and they may react by digging their heels in and doing the complete opposite of what the parent wants them to do. It also has a negative focus, directing attention to what the child is not doing, rather than what they’re doing right. At the end of the day, it can wear a person down.
Establishing rules and clearly stating the consequences could be a better way to tackle the situation, since your teen has a choice and some control in the situation.
But if you’re a proud nagger, it seems science is backing you up – and your child or teen is listening, even if they’re rolling their eyes while doing so.