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What Is Nagging In A Relationship?

In our relationships, we have to ask people to help us out with things. Maybe it's our spouse, maybe it's our children, maybe it's our co-workers. And then something happens. Always it's going to happen that person at one time or another is not going to follow through. 

What do we do? Do we remind them? Do we nag them? That's what people struggle with because nobody wants to be a nag. Well, what really is nagging in a relationship. I'm Nicholeen and I'm a relationship expert. 

I teach everything related to self-mastery or self-government. And in this article today, we're going to be talking about "What is nagging in a relationship?" Nags definitely have a bad reputation. Nobody wants to be known as the nag. And people will say that as a negative comment about other people. "Oh, she's such a nag." Or "He always just nags everybody all the time. Oh, my parents are nagging me. My wife is such a nag." 

There's such a negative connotation to this. In fact, we usually think of it as a very impatient person, maybe controlling, someone who is emotionally manipulating another person. And the reason why we create that type of association with nagging is that it's true. That's what it feels like. It feels like somebody is taking away your freedom somehow. 

That they're trying to force you to do something that they want you to do in a way that's kind of passive-aggressive. Sometimes even full-on aggressive but there are guilt trips, there are constant reminders. So, then parents want to know "Well, can't I ever remind anybody? I mean, what do I do then? Do I just let it not happen?" Because sometimes we've got to give our children instructions. 

We need them to accomplish things. They've got to be part of life. But how do we do it without nagging the person? It reminding is usually thought of as a kind thing to do. I'm going to give somebody a gentle reminder, a kind reminder. And there are things that I like to think of as a kind of remind but they do not appear like nagging in any way. And I think many people don't know where the line is between reminding a person or helping somebody succeed and nagging. 

True nagging is actually just manipulation. And it's based on inconsistency in the relationship. So, if you're nagging a spouse or you're being nagged by a spouse, or you're nagging a child or the child is nagging you (which can happen too) then what you are recognizing or that other person is recognizing is that there is inconsistency in your relationship. 

This means the family is not following through or someone in the relationship is not following through with what it is that they should be doing to create healthy communication in that relationship. One of the reasons that we are not consistent in our relationships is because we don't actually have the skills to do the communication that we would like to do. 

So, a lot of people are making it up as they go. And when you're making it up as you go, you run the risk of taking things personally. Meaning, the actions of other people that you would take those actions personally. And when you start taking the actions personally, then soon you start pushing harder and harder and harder to get your way. So, that's when the nagging comes in. It's not necessary to nag anyone. 

I can promise you it's not necessary. So, if you've ever felt like before, "Well, I have to nag because there's no other way they'll do it. There's no other way they'll finally get it has done or they'll follow through." That is actually a lie that we make up in our heads to rationalize our own behavior. We don't have to nag. We just need the skills in place so that the nagging doesn't need to occur. 

Well, in this article, I want to share with you the skills I use so that I don't have to nag. The principle behind good communication is consistency. So, if you are going to be consistent, that means that you point everything back to cause and effect. People have to understand cause and effect to properly communicate. I don't know if you realize that. 

If you don't focus on cause and effect, you'll end up focusing on your emotional reactions instead. And nagging usually is stemmed from emotional reactions. So, how do I keep myself focused on cause and effect? I use certain skills. One of the main skills that are going to be effective at combating the urgency or the craving to nag is following instructions. 

So, we need to know how to follow instructions. Our children need to know how to follow instructions. And just so you know, the children don't get to give us instructions because that's not their role. However, if we understand the skill then we can properly know how to correct things when it goes wrong and how to prepare them for future success. 

There are 5 steps to following instructions. You look at the person, keep a calm face voice, and body. Say okay or ask to disagree appropriately. Do the task immediately and then check back. If a person knows all 5 of those steps and they can use them as a skill set together then that person has the edge up on getting things done and then that eliminates as much necessity for nagging or reminding. 

When we're focusing on cause and effect, we have to also remember that a person needs to have the opportunity to see the results of their actions. I think a lot of parents or spouses remind, remind, remind which turns into nag each other because they want the other person to succeed. They don't want to have to correct a problem. 

Well, if we're afraid of correcting problems, then the person is always going to have a dependency upon more reminders which means more nagging. If you are nagging, nagging, nagging. Reminding, reminding, reminding which are nearly the same thing, your tolerances are way too high. That means you are putting up with all kinds of misbehavior, disrespect, bad communication. 

Your consistency is not there. Good self-governed communication which fosters unity love and understanding has low tolerances. This means everyone analyzes themselves and puts themselves on the mark that they're shooting for again and again and again. So, that they're the most successful. So, this means you have to correct problems. 

Now, correcting problems calmly and effectively is the best way to correct those problems. I know that many people get angry or upset and emotional when the correcting is happening. That's just as damaging as nagging. So, you need to make sure that your correction method is something that you can feel really good and confident about that you know will unite your hearts together and help you and your children solve a problem and move on feeling like it was no big deal. 

So, good consistent correcting is a key factor in helping you not nag or helping somebody else not nag you. So, even in a husband and wife relationship, we have to be able to correct each other. Here's one you might want to take a look at after you're done with this article which will give you more information on how to do an effective correction. 

As well as correct, we have to praise. Because praising also teaches cause and effect. So, if you want your children or your spouse to be more successful at following through with the things that you are asking them to do, then you need to tell them when things went well. You need to tell them they did a great job and describe exactly what they did that was so good. 

This also teaches them cause and effect and it helps them crave more of that positive feedback from you. So, it's not just a correction that happens or a talk about a situation and pointing in a new direction that they get all the time. But sometimes they found out they did something really well and they want to repeat that behavior. 

That motivates a person to remember the next time all on their own which is self-government. Finally, the big guns in controlling the impulse to nag another person are pre-teaching. The teaching self-government parenting system that I am known for teaching hinges on the principle of pre-teaching. 

This means that a person is told ahead of time what skills they need and how to handle a situation before they even find themselves in that situation. So, this means that before I give a child an instruction, I might tell them what the steps are to the following instruction and what they can expect if the outcome goes well or if it doesn't. And then I do not have to nag. 

Everything has been laid out on the table ahead of time. So, a really good pre-teach sounds like this, "Susie, I'm going to give you an instruction. Do you remember how to follow instructions?" Then Susie might say, "Yes." And that she might even tell me those 5 steps which are to look at the person, keep a calm face voice and body say okay or ask to disagree appropriately, do the task immediately and then check back. 

So, then I'll praise her and say, "Great job. You know all five steps really well. Now, I'm going to give you an instruction right now. Remember to get yourself all the way to the check back and have that calm face voice and body. And you know if you need to talk to me about it, you can always do that disagree appropriately step. Here's your instruction: I need you to clean the bathroom sink, okay?" Then Susie knows in her mind, "I look at the person keep a calm face voice and body. Say, okay, or ask to disagree appropriately. 

Do the task immediately and then check back." So, she looks at me and says, "Okay." Then she goes to clean the bathroom sink. And then she comes back and says, "Mom, I clean the sink. Is there anything else?" I set her... And then I praise her of course. 

Always praise, right? But I set her up in that situation to succeed. I told her ahead of time this is exactly what you need to do. And if you're worried about a toddler, you might even say in the instruction, "I'm going to give you an instruction to clean the bathroom sink. 

You have 10 minutes to do it and then you need to check back. And if you don't clean it up in 10 minutes, then I will come in and do a correction." And then they know exactly how your correction is going to happen because you've already pre-taught that. 

My children know the exact words that I will say as part of my correction. And they know every negative consequence that they would ever earn because we have made that very simple in our home, very predictable. 

They can actually do all of the parenting scripts that I use. Do you know what that does for them? Decreases their anxiety, decreases the need to be reminded or nagged, and motivates them or empowers them to manage themselves, to govern themselves which is the goal of all the teaching with my children. 

So, if you really want to do a kind reminder for your family members and the people you have relationships with maybe even at the office, think in terms of doing a pre-teach. Set them up for success before you even give them an instruction. Then follow through so that they get the opportunity to self-govern. 

Self-government and understanding that concept what it really means and the skills associated with that is liberating. I never knew that I would love communication, love parenting, love sorting out problems with my loved ones and friends as much as I do. Because there's no stress associated with it when you know how to govern yourself and you have good communication skills. 

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