Flashback Friday: The art of nagging

Posted on September 2nd, 2011

I read a survey that found that children use nagging to get what they want. Well, duh. I mean, let’s be honest—did they really need to conduct a survey on this? Was there nothing else on earth that they could have used as subject matter for a survey?

Please—this is a no brainer. Every parent on earth knows that kids nag to get what they want. If there is a parent out there who does not think kids nag, that parent needs to get his or her butt enrolled in parenting classes, because that mom or dad is in serious denial.

Childhood nagging is nothing new. It’s not like today’s kids just started a fad called “Nag Your Parents Until They Give in to Your Every Whim.” No, even cavemen had this problem. Drawings on cave walls indicate that when cave dad came home from a long day re-inventing the wheel, his kids immediately nagged him to get a new wooly mammoth or to take them to Saber Tooth Tiger Land to ride the roller coaster.

Look, even if you aren’t a parent, you know that kids nag. Everybody starts out as a kid. And therefore, everybody has been a nagging child. Except my husband. Harry maintains that he never nagged his parents for anything because he was the perfect child. Yeah, like I believe that. He nags me constantly, so he must have learned it somewhere.

But if you, like Harry, don’t think you nagged, just ask your mother. She’ll tell you the truth. Do you honestly believe that your mother would have bought you those Mickey Mouse ears if you hadn’t nagged her into it? And what about all those Duran Duran albums you collected? No mother wants her child to listen to Duran Duran while wearing Mickey Mouse ears. But any one of us could have been nagged to the point that we would have willingly bought them.

And if you need further proof that all children nag, just go to the grocery store. Find a woman with a couple of kids—one kid gnawing on her carefully written list, the other racing up and down the aisles, coming back to the cart every minute or so to demand strawberry pop tarts. Follow this woman through her entire grocery shopping experience. Ten bucks says the kid has the pop tarts in his mouth by the time they all arrive at the check stand.

The worst part is our kids learn to nag from us. By the time a child has passed through the whole toilet training thing, he has been nagged to the point of insanity. I mean, what kid wouldn’t? For at least two years, the question most asked of 2 – 4 year olds is “Do you need to make pee-pee?” Children would willingly sit on the toilet all day long so their mothers would just shut up. And thus, an entire generation of nagging kids is created.

Ad agencies take a page out of the great book of nagging as well. Look, if nagging didn’t work, all the stations that carry children’s shows would be commercial free. There would be no SpongeBob, no Superman, and no toys with Happy Meals. Because if we weren’t nagged, we wouldn’t buy useless stuff that the kids play with for an hour, then toss into the toy box. So you might say that nagging is very good for the economy.

And do you remember Pokemon cards? Every kid had to have them. Look, if it weren’t for nagging, Pokemon cards would never have been sold or traded. No parent would have bought any if they could have just said “no” and never have their kid ask again. Parents aren’t that stupid. We knew that when the craze was over, the $200 Pokemon card was going to be used as a scratch pad. Hello? Look at your desk. Does the scratch pad have something that resembles Picachu on the front? Yeah, mine too.

EBay would not be nearly as successful if children did not nag. There would be no reason to be the high bidder on a Ke$ha concert 400 miles from your hometown unless you had a teenage girl in your house nagging you for tickets.

So I don’t know why these people needed a survey. I mean, I could rant and rave about nagging forever, and still not know why these people felt the need to call a bunch of kids and asked if they nagged.

I guess I’ll keep asking those survey people until they tell me. Not that I’m nagging them about it, of course.

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