You’ve experienced it and so have I.
When a child asks — and asks and asks and asks. Usually, the relentless barrage of questions is an attempt to get us to change our response from a no to a yes, and it’s exhausting!
Have you ever given in because you were so tired from the asking? Have you ever become so irritated by the nagging requests that you blew up and responded in anger or frustration? Today’s phrase has been a huge help to me in those situations where I knew there was a problem but I didn’t know how to articulate an even-keeled response.
I first learned this phrase from my friend Heather. We had just met and were standing with a group of women at the airport waiting for the shuttle to drive us to the hotel where the Relevant (now Allume) conference was being held. Though a casual conversation, I gleaned this great nugget of wisdom that has been a huge help for me! You never know when you’ll pick up parenting wisdom!
The phrase goes something like this:
“I believe I have already answered your question. When you keep asking, that is badgering, and badgering hurts our relationship. Please don’t ask again.”
Heather mentioned that she learned the phrase from the book Good and Angry: Exchanging Frustration for Character in You and Your Kids by Dr. Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller.
This phrase has been so helpful to me because, well honestly? Badgering is also irritating! I can easily loose my cool when faced with my little ones’ persistent spirits! Having a ready phrase helps me avoid a wrong tone or even my own outburst.
The thing is, my kids’ tenacity is going to be a huge blessing to them throughout their lives. My job is to help them learn when to persevere and when their determination crosses the line of respect — when they are doing the right thing the wrong way.
If you have a child who struggles with badgering, Dr. Turansky and Ms. Miller also suggest checking out a library book or two about badgers and discuss as a family the characteristics and habits of these animals. Then have your child name positive and negative results from acting similar to a badger.
Often times, kids who use badgering don’t even realize the effect that their persistence can have on a relationship. That same persistence can be a huge asset in the future, but as parents we need to help our children recognize when it is beneficial and when it is damaging.
Question for You: Do your kids ever badger? What responses have you found to be helpful in those situations?