A mom says to me this week, “I’m doing better…I’ve turned down the nagging.”

I said, “So, you’re watching your ‘M.N.Q.’ – the Mother Nag Quotient.”

She laughed, “Yeah, it seemed to help. He was more motivated and engaged.”

It’s never easy though.

So many parents report their child to be fundamentally under-functioning, not meeting expectations, not engaging with school work or facing the reality of their choices.

One mom reports that her child is only motivated by his “virtual world,” spending endless time on video gaming, socializing only through his Xbox. This Mom will not be the only one who can’t drag her child away from their video games. Just take one look at the Current League of Legends player count, or the player count of any popular game – the figures show just how many people spend timing playing these games daily.

Underneath the nagging is fear. As adults we don’t see the other side of it when the grades reflect a general decline. We plead, cajole, limit-set, nag, yell, and punish, among an array of other strategies that generally don’t work well.

Even if the parent shuts down the gaming system, more often than not, they’re not willing to take away the child’s phone, so YouTube excursions, texting, Snapchat, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram provide enough candy during the time (the child knows it will be temporary) when the Xbox is off limits.

I strive to help kids and parents find the middle ground. I appeal to compromise on the child’s part. (“I will work on helping your mom turn down her MNQ, if you do your part, meet your basic responsibilities.”) There’s a lot of that kind of talk.

With the parents I try and get them to use a ratio that guides them toward being 10% involved, to be homework consultants, but they worry that the child will sink like a stone if they turn down their Parent Over-Involvement Dial (aka, POID).

I make reference to “executive function deficits,” we talk about building in structures and systems that can help the child assume greater independence and responsibility.

Some parents try medication for their kids.

Each child and family is unique, so what works well for one may not for another.

I think it is good that the mom turned down her nag quotient; it seemed to free up some bottled up anger in her child. Feeling less angry over being over-controlled, he had a little more energy to tackle the tasks he didn’t want to do.

Takeaway Point

Anger always clogs the engine.

Keep working to find the middle ground.