Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Women's Health

Font Size

End Your Nagging Habit

WebMD Feature from "Good Housekeeping" Magazine

By Sarah Mahoney

Good Housekeeping Magazine Logo

How to quit nitpicking

It's not even noon on a Sunday, and I've been biting my tongue all morning. When my husband sat down to Web surf two hours ago, I resisted the urge to remind him that he had promised to clean the basement. I held my tongue again when our 13-year-old trashed the kitchen while creating his "it's due tomorrow!" science project. And I even managed to stifle myself when my teenage daughter left a plate in the sink instead of reaching 18 inches farther to put it in the dishwasher.

I want to stop nagging, but with family members so resistant to constructive criticism, it's hard for me to shut up. Instead, I lash out at someone who can't talk back — the geriatric mutt snoring on the sofa. "For the millionth time," I order, "get down! No dogs on the couch!" She looks up and yawns.

I'm not the only woman who's guilty of repeating herself again and again (and again). A University of Florida study found that the culprits in two-thirds of family nagging episodes were women (who are also the ones most invested in keeping the house clean — coincidence?). To be fair, researchers noted that one reason women are labeled naggers is mere nomenclature — when men nag, we call it hounding; when kids do it, we say, "Stop pestering."

"To women, nagging feels like the most logical thing in the world," says Michele Weiner-Davis, M.S.W., author of Divorce Busting. "We think, If some­one isn't doing what I asked, they must not have heard me. So we say it again. And then we say it louder."

Once we realize we're being ignored, we tend to take real offense, as if our kids and spouse are scheming to stick us with the laundry forever. When they finally do tackle a load, we're way past thanking them — we just get nasty, muttering remarks like, "Took you long enough!" And that kind of negative reinforcement rarely inspires better behavior.

So what does work? "Whether you're dealing with an earthworm or a Harvard grad, the science of learning is exactly the same," says Ken Ramirez, who has trained hundreds of unruly critters, from whales to workers, at Chicago's Shedd Aquar­ium. "As long as you always stay positive, you can change behavior." Here, Ramirez and other experts explain how to bring out the best in your family — without ever saying "Didn't I just tell you to..." again.

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5

Today on WebMD

hands on abdomen
Test your knowledge.
womans hand on abdomen
Are you ready for baby?
birth control pills
Learn about your options.
Is it menopause or something else?
woman in bathtub
bp app on smartwatch and phone
estrogen gene

Send yourself a link to download the app.

Loading ...

Please wait...

This feature is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later.


Now check your email account on your mobile phone to download your new app.

Blood pressure check
hot water bottle on stomach
Attractive young woman standing in front of mirror