This post will be wildly unpopular with a lot of you. Stop nagging your teen boy about his grades!!
The Bible says DON’T NAG.
Proverbs 21:19 actually uses the word nagging in the NIV translation. Other translations use words like vexing, hot-tempered, complaining, fretful, easily-provoked, irritable, and angry. Seriously, have you noticed how their eyes glaze over when you start in on them about their grades? I don’t pretend to have all the answers but yelling at them to study harder isn’t working. At least it’s not for my kids. I get that the verse is talking about husbands and wives. But I always try to keep in mind that when I’m parenting my sons, I’m teaching them (inadvertently) what kind of wife they are going to want (or not want!).
Just for fun, Google “stop nagging about grades” and you’ll find almost 80,000 results. Most of these results are kids trying to find support to get their parents off their backs. So that tells me that nagging isn’t working. I want my sons to study and strive for success because it’s what God would want them to do, not because they want their device back. I was listening to Dr. Laura once and remember her scoffing at the ‘taking things away punishment’ because they are going to get it back. She suggested it was better to require some form of community service, reading a book, or missing an event. Super interesting perspective!! Some days you’re going to conquer this… like this day for me…
Nagging makes your boys listen LESS.
That’s right, we, as humans, get good at the things we do the most. Think about it. When my son wants to shave 5 seconds off his mile, HE RUNS MORE. When my other son wants to NEVER miss a goal attempt, HE SHOOTS MORE. I’ve always prayed that when my boys did something wrong, they would get caught immediately. Why? Because I don’t want them to get good at doing wrong. I don’t want them to get good at ignoring the Holy Spirit. If you do something often enough, you become super good at it. The more you nag those boys, the better they are going to get at completely tuning you out. Have you noticed they have selective hearing? You can tell them to pick up their wet towel 50 times but if you utter ‘we’re thinking of going to the movies’ softly from another room, you can bet they’re gonna hear that!! I can’t explain it but I can tell you that for generations, parenting 9th grade-ish teen boys has made many a parent pull their hair out.
I’m here because I want to be here. Please don’t misinterpret all this to say “she doesn’t want to be a parent.”
Years ago, I wrote about being in the job I wanted. It was a tough time and then, I thought I was in the trenches of motherhood and if I could just get them through that stage, I’d be golden. Boy, was I wrong! Back then, our biggest obstacle was getting them to do a few little things to get a chance to go to the pool. Even little things like that, God had my back then, and He’s got it now. He will continue to mold and guide my boys!
Nagging won’t create a heart change.
When you hound your boys to death about their grades, you aren’t creating a heart change in them to want to do better. You are essentially alienating yourself from them and creating an even bigger chasm between the two of you. They are teenagers! Their brains don’t even have the capacity yet to make good decisions. Research shows that teen brain won’t fully mature til they are in their 20s!! Now is the time to deliver grace. But yesterday, I did anything BUT that…
Here are a few thoughts from some teacher friends who are actively teaching this age:
At some time in life, one would hope that the desire to succeed would be intrinsically motivated, but in reality, some kids/teens are not mentally/emotionally mature enough to understand the value of the grade/decision/performance. I believe that praise or discipline should NEVER be based on the number, but the effort behind it. A hard earned C is to be celebrated much more than an easy A. – Mrs. D (19 years of teaching)
Yes, I think students should experience natural consequences without parents nagging them all the time. Students are being coddled through life and are ending up feeling a sense of entitlement without earning anything through determination, hard work and/or experiencing failure. Life is hard and they need to learn that sometimes you have to fix your problem and not expect someone else to fix it for you. Students need to be accountable for their actions at these particular ages especially when it comes to their academic grades. – Middle School Teacher in NY
Parents who nag will push kids to complete tasks and have short-term success, but students who aren’t allowed to face natural consequences for lacking motivation and effort will not find success in the long run. – Mrs. O – 5th grade teacher and boy mom (y’all pray for her, LOL)
Another lady contacted me to tell me that she’s about 20 years ahead of me in life and deeply regrets the yelling and wishes she’d done more loving. That really hit home. This is tough y’all. Let’s all love one another!
Keep it Simple,