Interesting About Nagging in School

Kids love to nag, but some are far more adept at it than others. For some children, they don’t seem to understand when you tell them no. Or they see the rebuttal as a challenge. Others seem to mis-hear “no” or translate the word into “I’ll ask again in three minutes when it’s been forgotten that I asked already”. This is what sorts the pests from any other normal kid. No wonder some parents look worn down and worn out.

But this is one of the occasions when I can sincerely say that I blame the parents. Otherwise, how is it that some children quietly accept “no” as just that, whilst others refuse to acknowledge an adult response and decide to pester until they get what they want? I’ll tell you the reason why, it’s because they haven’t learned the important lesson that no means no. And the reason they haven’t learnt it? Because weak-willed gullible parents give in at an early stage and therefore miss the opportunity of nipping pestering in the bud when the child is very young.

I’ll give you an example. The kids rush in after break. We’ve just settled down to some work and then one will ask, “Can I go to the toilet?” My response is no, we have just had break, and they must wait until the lesson is over. I try not to get into a debate about it; after all, they should accept an authoritative “no” and I gave them a reason. Many try to debate as a method of pestering. I can guarantee that in fifty per cent of cases, three minutes later the same child will ask again. Again, I will say no and give my reason. It’s not just me being mean: one of the lesser school rules is no children out of classrooms during lesson times. I say it’s a lesser rule because many other teachers ignore it and send their troublesome pupils on long errands to get them out of their hair.

By now the kids will be doing individual or pair work and I’ll be moving around the room, trying to avoid tripping over bags as I check on everyone’s work. Then I’ll feel a tap on my shoulder, or as high as the child can reach, and a slightly whiny, “I really need to go to the toilet…”. At this point I will probably explode, having had enough of the pestering for one lesson, and spout a well-worn speech about no meaning no, and the probability of me changing my mind not being in direct relation to how many times they ask, and I’ll throw in a few appropriate foot-notes about when they should use the toilet facilities and how teachers have to wait until breaks and so should they, unless they have a doctor’s note.