It's an age-old parenting: how do I get my kids to listen to me?
One frustrated mum, writing to Slate's Care and Feeding advice column under the pseudonym 'No Nag', said a 'huge percentage' of her interactions with her kids were to repeatedly ask the same question.
Perplexed by her kids' selective hearing powers, the mum asked how she could stop herself becoming a nag who follows them through the house asking if they had brushed their hair or finished their homework.
"I love spending time with my kids. I want to spend my time with them in positive ways, but also … the same things have to actually get done from day to day so they're not purely feral children living in a trash heap," she writes.
"I've tried the logical conversations, which go in one ear and out the other, and we're right back at asking 14 times a day. We don't ask them to do a lot—a few simple household chores and basic personal upkeep—but it feels like every single ask turns into a several-day campaign of nagging."
Adding they were good kids with no 'outright defiance or intentional stonewalling', she said the 'perpetual-not-doing' was becoming unsustainable.
Sadly for this mum, and parents everywhere, Slate's agony aunt shot down any hopes of a silver bullet for the universal issue. Instead, suggesting she reprioritise tasks and focus only on what is essential.
"I'm happy to be able to reassure you that this is super typical and fine, but I'm afraid that also means there is no magic solution here," she wrote.
"You want to pick your battles—to steal a line from one of my favourite teachers: What's essential, what's important, and what's nice to have?"
Suggesting that the mum drop a few items from the list and to choose one to focus on each week to help keep the kids' focus, rather than overwhelming them with too many jobs.
The good news is kids eventually tune in to their parents' requests - it's just takes some time.