How To Stop Nagging? ~Help For Parents3 min read

Each week I hold a special telephone mentor call for people who are enrolled in my Teaching Self-Government 10 Step Implementation Course. During these calls I personally answer people’s parenting questions. On this week’s call a very profound question was asked.

I’m also struggling to understand if this [the parenting situation we were discussing] is nagging or correcting. I’m not sure I really understand the difference.”

What a great question! So often we know a word, such as ‘nagging’, and we know not to do it. But, we don’t know what to do instead of nag or how to recognize when we have crossed the ‘nagging’ line.

Nagging is when you persistently fault-find or urge someone to do something. It is an annoying and often irritating behavior which creates resentment. This sounds pretty bad. Of course we wouldn’t want to do this in our parenting or marriage relationships. Then how do we get them to do the things we want them to do or to make a good change if we don’t tell them what’s wrong and urge them to make the change?

The last question made it sound like you have to either nag or do nothing. That is not true. The most effective way to change someone’s heart or mind is to do a proper correction. Nagging is very different from correcting. Parent and marriage relationships are meant to be forever and are specifically meant for making us better people. To become better we must always be changing and growing. In a healthy marriage relationship a couple knows how to lovingly correct each other. They establish rules for correcting and mutually decide to accept correction.

In a parent/child relationship, a parent has a responsibility to correct a child who is making bad choices or engaging in destructive behaviors. The way we do this is the key to succeeding with the correction.

Correcting is recognizing something wrong or inappropriate, describing what that wrong thing looks like, describing what the correct choice would have been, explaining negative consequences, and practicing the right way to fix the problem.

Correcting is natural, safe feeling, and should create a closeness in the relationship instead of a resentment or distant feeling. Of course knowing how to accept correction is another skills which has to be learned and taught to children. In my book, Parenting A House United, I discuss the way to teach children to accept correction.

Nagging Vs. Correction

Here is the portion of the Implementation Conference Call where I discussed nagging vs. correction.


These are the call notes:


High Tolerance

It’s About You (Selfish)



Detail Management

No Direction


Low Tolerance

It’s About Them And Their Progress

Giving Instruction


Assertive (This Implementation article is about being assertive: How Do You Get Your Way?)

Has Definite Direction

Skill Mastery (Self-Government)

A nagger isn’t ever happy. She can’t be. Because she is not fulfilling her mission as a spouse or parent. She isn’t nurturing, teaching or correcting, she is manipulating, spreading negative emotions, and destroying relationships.

Analyze what you are doing and make a change today. If you know the difference between nagging and correcting you can make an educated choice. Changing a habit like this is difficult. It’s okay to stop yourself mid-nag and start over. Apologize for nagging if you do it and make a fresh start on the instruction. Lead your family to greater relationship happiness by being the example of focus and change.

Buy Nicholeen’s Book Parenting A House United

Sign up for Nicholeen’s Teaching Self-Government 10 Step Implementation Course


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