Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Nags Among Us

"James U. McNeal, a professor of marketing at Texas A&M University, is considered America's leading authority on marketing to children. In his book Kids As Customers (1992), McNeal provides marketers with a thorough analysis of 'children's requesting styles and appeals.' He classifies juvenile nagging tactics into seven major categories. A pleading nag is one accompanied by repetitions of words like 'please' or 'mom, mom, mom.' A persistent nag involves constant requests for the coveted product and may include the phrase 'I'm gonna ask just one more time.' Forceful nags are extremely pushy and may include subtle threats, like "Well, then, I'll go and ask Dad." Demonstrative nags are the most high-risk, often characterized by full-blown tantrums in public places, breath-holding, tears, a refusal to leave the store. Sugar-coated nags promise affection in return for a purchase and may rely on seemingly heartfelt declarations like "You're the best dad in the world." Threatening nags are youthful forms of blackmail, vows of eternal hatred and of running away if something isn't bought. Pity nags claim the child will be heartbroken, teased, or socially stunted if the parent refuses to buy a certain item. 'All of these appeals and styles may be used in combination,' McNeal's research has discovered, 'but kids tend to stick to one or two of each that prove most effective...for their own parents.'" ~~Eric Schlosser, Fast Food Nation
Why this quote you ask? Yes, my kids are pretty much beyond the nagging age. It never works too well on me, never did. Sometimes, yes, when I'm tired. But mostly nagging just annoys me into a snit which my kids know is not a good mood to be around. Because I seldom give in they give up. They've learned to find healthy, acceptable ways of procuring their wants and needs.

No, this quote didn't jump out at me because of my kids. It jumped out at me because of adults I know who follow these nagging styles and approaches. I tried to raise my kids contrary to this so that they would not abuse others with nagging as children and into adulthood.

Would that parents everywhere would consider the lessons taught when they give in to juvenile nagging tactics.

Alas there must have been many weak parents who have given in to the nag for sprinkled throughout society are childish, whiny adults who nag nag nag subjecting the rest of us to behavior unappealing, annoying, g r a t i n g.

Grow up, already!

There. Off my chest and into cyberspace.

Sorry 'bout that.


Mike S said...

HAH! Refer to my comment onna last post, a new comment on this one would be redundant methinks. Dang!! Where's my Scotch???

Cherie said...

You cracked me up with this, Mike. Where is your Scotch indeed - and where's my meditation mat! Whewie.

We are funny funny people. :D

Pam said...

I think a lot of parents give in to the nagging for many reasons: laziness; guilt -- for not being there as much as they think they should; the whole self-esteem crapola thing where Little Doodums might feel bad about themselves if you say "no" ... Each new generation, it seems, has a whole new set of blurred lines to walk as they they take on parenting.

Cherie said...

I agree with you, Pam. Now won't you puh -leeeeze come and visit me? Pam.Pam.Pam. I will only ask this last time cuz you are just the bestest sort of friend in the whole world and if you come out I will be so happy and if you don't I'll be ruined and hate you forever. I'm just going to ask Joe. Waaaah!

Sandy's Notes said...

Pam and Cherie, you guys are funny together. I used to tell my kids, and now I tell some of the adult people in my life, I won't say who: "No doesn't mean keep trying until I say yes, it means, NO"! Nagging takes me to a place where people don't want to deal with me. So what ever you're going through Cherie, I feel for you!

Ann said...

Very interesting, especially linking it to adults! For an adult (and AS an adult!), I think I would add the passive-agressive nag. Hate to admit it, but that's more MY style....you know, nag nag nag, then get silent & moody, hoping someone will ask "What's wrong?" so that I can respond "If I have to tell you, you wouldn't understand."

Cherie said...

Sandy, you should see/hear Pam and I when we get together. It's hilarious.

Sounds like you and I have the same theory and response to nagging. I like your line. Good one. Thanks for the understanding. :)

Ann: Ah, yes, the old passive/aggressive pout/martyr technique. It's a classic. :)

Pam said...

That was EXcellent nagging, Cherie! But you know you don't have to nag me to come visit... Sending cash for air fare might help, however.

Cherie said...

The check is in the mail! ;)

Cecily said...

This is fascinating stuff... I am now off to think about whether I'm a nagger or not. (I think I might be... but I'll work on it. And I try hard with my friends not to do guilt trips... but sometimes Frank doesn't fare so well)

Angela said...

ha! i love it. i love it when good people grumble.

Cherie said...

It is fascinating, isn't it, Cecily. I'm not much of a nagger - except for Tom. Like Frank, I'm afraid he doesn't fare too well sometimes. Eek.

Angela, amazing how good grumblage feels now and then.

tshsmom said...

I've been observing a much more disturbing trend lately. All the parents I know are overindulging their kids WITHOUT the whining.

First, it was cell phones. "My teen MUST have a phone for safety." Now, I know several parents who are car shopping for kids that don't even have their driver's license yet! "The thought of sharing my car with my son/daughter is just WAY too inconvenient for me!"

I know one family whose 2 teens have each totaled the cars they were given within a month of getting their licenses. Did this wake up the parents? Nope; they bought the kids 2 new cars! ARGHHHH!!!

Gardenia said...

My favorite one is the "I wish I could have that." Then the look with the oversize dark brown eyes with curly lashes. (Grandson initiated).

My poor older kids were greeted with a loud NO from their step dad....it made me sad. They knew not to ask again. I kick myself in the butt for tolerating that.

Anyway, usually kids will test until they find one that works with the particular parent(s). Obviously.

Cherie said...

Oh yes, Gardenia, the puppy dog eyes.....it's one of the ones my kids used that actually weakened my resolve now and then. ;)