“It’s not fair.”
“Everyone else gets to…”
“There’s nothing to do.”
“Why can’t I?”
Please me. Cater to me. Make me happy.
Tears, pouty faces, manipulation, meltdowns. Downright disrespect.
Whine, whine, and whine.
And you’ve just had a great vacation, done something special for a child, set aside your own desires to please your kids.
But it’s never enough; your child always wants something more. It’s enough to drive a mother crazy. It’s self-centeredness run amuck in a long hot summer.
So how do we handle a case of the whines?
- Realize that whining is normal but that does not make it acceptable. If a child is allowed to get away with whining they will quickly learn how to manipulate a parent to get their own way. They will become more self-centered, expecting others to cater to them. They are more likely to grow into adults who want others to please them. In the process they will make everyone else around them miserable.
- Ask, “Is this child over-scheduled? Tired? Does the child need some alone time? Does the child need a break from ALL devices?” Often a whiny child is simply a tired, over-stimulated child. This child needs to take a nap.
- Distinguish between disobedience and whining. Disobedience necessitates a punishment. Whining is best handled simply by saying, “You need to go to your room until you finish whining” (i.e. take some time out). Anyone who whines goes to his or her room. We moms would like to be sent to our rooms, too!
- Expose your family to others with less. Four of our grandsons just returned from a mission trip with our church to Haiti where they worked with poor Haitian children. I asked one what he noticed that made an impact on him. He responded, “These kids had nothing yet they were happy. They spent hours playing with rubber bands! We have so much more than they do but we always want more.”
- Cultivate thanksgiving. Every morning, my husband writes in his journal things he’s thankful for from the past 24 hours. I’m trying to do the same, and I’ve realized how much a spirit of thankfulness produces joy, so one of the things I’m asking God to do in my life is to make me more of a person of thanksgiving! Each day try using a using family meal to take turns sharing things for which you are thankful. Big changes come about by taking small steps.
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