I Don’t Mean To Nag My Kids, But….

They may have left home. They may be in college or working. They may be sitting on the edge of adulthood, but I am still their mother. While, in theory, I believe that parents should not nag their grown kids, there are times when I just cannot help myself.

6 legitimate reasons to nag your teen

Vote. Join the Democracy.

Our kids may live in a hyper connected world but one thing they have not connected with is democracy. The youngest eligible voters have the worst voting record with only 45% of 18-29 year olds exercising their right to the ballot box. Reminding our kids of the responsibility democracy places upon us is perfectly allowable nagging in my book.

Get Out of the Bubble and Read the News.

I nag my kids to get out of their social media bubble and learn about the larger world. I tell them they don’t get to be adults if they are all just about themselves. My suggestions? Make The New York Times (or a similar credible news source Vox, The Washington Post, The Guardian…) your home page on all of your devices. When you open your laptop, look at your phone or turn on your tablet the first thing you should see is a page of the world’s most important news. You may not read every story, you may not read any story, but by glancing over the headlines you are a step ahead of where you were 60 seconds ago.

If you don’t want to leave that cozy social media bubble, invite the world’s news in to join you. On each social media platform connect with 10, or even 20, of the most interesting informative news sites and your screen will be flooded with the most important and controversial events of the day.

Subscribe to theSkimm.   If you can’t be bothered to go out and find the news, let it come to you. This super smart, daily news email will keep you informed, even make you laugh and keep you from sounding like a complete idiot when everyone you know is discussing what they read on theSkimm that morning. This is news to read before you even get out of bed in the morning.

Worship at the Altar of Sleep.

“Mom, are we ever going to stop talking about how much I sleep?” my son recently asked me. “Yes, when you are 80 and I am dead,” I explained.

We are raising a smart, health-conscious generation. They love good food, they exercise like crazy, they wear devices on their wrists that tell them about their bodies every day. And then, THEY DON’T SLEEP.

There are too many electronic distractions. They work long hours at their jobs or try to fit too many activities into their days as students. They can find friends, entertainment and social connection 24/7. Despite the research that shows kids get better scores and grades, have a healthier weight, less depression and fewer auto accidents when they get more sleep, teens and young adults are chronically tired.

Countering the drone of distractions that pulls our kids away from a good night’s rest is the sensible voice of a parent reminding them to worship at the altar of sleep.

Money Money Money

There is plenty that we can teach our kids about money while they are still young but much of what they need to learn happens in real-time as they begin to spend, save and earn on their own. Teaching a college kid to budget carefully or a recent grad to be careful to save can take more than one, long conversation. My kids might define this as nagging. I consider it furthering their education.

Good Health is Everything.

For 18 years we a major participant in our children’s health care (I once sent a 16-year-old to the doctor alone and was called and told that was unacceptable. He could not consent to his own care.) Then one day we are not. They go to college, or leave home for work and suddenly the medical decisions are all theirs. But have they really learned to take care of themselves? The answer is probably “yes” and “no.” The hand-off on this one is slower that some other parts of adulthood. So I am available for consultations and subtle or not so subtle reminders about flu shots, annual physicals and the necessity of having a doctor look at the odd mole on their left shoulder.


From the moment they take their very first breaths, grandchildren are cherished by their grandparents. Time is not on the side of the oldest generation in our families’ lives and every phone call, text, letter and hug are precious when a grandchild expresses love and gratitude. Certainly grounds for a gentle reminder if not an all out push.

Photo credit: Dan Foy

About Grown and Flown

Mary Dell Harrington and Lisa (Endlich) Heffernan are the co-founders of Grown and Flown the #1 site for parents of teens, college students and young adults, reaching millions of parents every month. They are writers (Lisa is a New York Times bestselling author), moms, wives and friends. They started the Grown and Flown Parents Facebook Group and are co-authors of Grown and Flown: How to Support Your Teen, Stay Close as a Family, and Raise Independent Adults (Flatiron Books) now in paperback.

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