I never planned to be a nagging mother, but it happened. I blamed being a perfectionist. I like things done a certain way. I try really hard not to correct my kids all the time or to fix things they have done. It's easy with artwork, play and “their stuff”, they can do that however they want. I struggle with mistakes in behavior, manners, putting my stuff away, how they talk to me etc. I hear myself correcting them for little things that really don't matter. They do things differently than I do and I seem to struggle with accepting their ways. I critique them. Do it this way, do it MY way! It was one thing when they were very little and needed more guidance on safety concerns. I just want them to do things the right way. I don't want them to be rude or careless. I feel like I'm helping them be better people, but in truth, I'm not helping them at all.
I'm a helper by nature. If a stranger drops something near me, I pick it up for them, I hold the door, grab something off a high shelf for a shorter person at the store. If anyone asks for help around me I give it. I have had to stop myself from helping my kids too much. I know they need to do things themselves, but my first reaction is to help. (I don't do their homework, that has never been an issue, I didn't like doing it when it was mine!) I correct their pronunciation of words, point our punctuation errors, nitpicky things like that. I can tell they are starting to really hate my “helpful advice”.
I do my fair share of encouraging, but probably not enough to make up for the criticism. I think that fact that my oldest has ADHD makes it a bit harder. Kids with ADHD have a different way of learning and they do not learn from mistakes the way that their peers do. It takes more time for their brain to mature and understand the consequences of their actions. If they do understand what the consequences are, it often does very little to deter them from whatever it is they are going to do. This makes it really hard not to help, save or rescue these kids. Preventing the problem is much easier than dealing with the aftermath!
My oldest has matured quite a bit over the past year and has shown that he is able to handle a lot of things he couldn't handle in the past. I no longer need to prevent so many things from happening, because he can handle it, (most of the time, as long as he is not overly tired too off schedule etc.). I need to bite my tongue more often and let him figure it out. I need to not worry so much about the little things. We've taught him well. He knows how to use his manners. I have to let him decide when and how to use them without me hovering and double checking. My kids have told me that I don't give them enough time to say thank you before I prompt them. I need to assume they will do the right thing, instead of assuming they will make a mistake. I need to remember that a few missed thank you's are not worth the feeling they get from being nagged about it. This doesn't mean that I will stand by silently and let them be rude heathens, but I will do less nagging and continue to model polite behavior. I will try to talk to them how I want to be talked to. I will be less exasperated by their mistakes and have a more pleasant tone. I will do more encouraging and less complaining. The world is a rough place and I'd like home to be a safe place to be, not an uncomfortable space full of nagging and complaints. Kids learn how to be kind and patient by being around those that are kind and patient. They learn to be polite when others are polite to them. They do learn what they live. Be kind and gracious and they will learn to be kind and gracious too.