Time is plowing forward. I have one ‘baby’ that is 21 and one that is 2 1/2 – and a whole bunch in between.
As my kids grow and pass through the various stages of development, I find that I am less and less frequently overwhelmed and perplexed by their behavior. At least for the younger ones anyway. In fact, I have developed quite the arsenal of character training weaponry over these past 21 years of parenting. Recently, I found the need to pull out one of my trusted favorites to quickly put an end to some whining and complaining that was beginning to rear its ugly, nerve-twanging head.
You see, my 5-year old has learned to love Legos. Mmmhmm. You know what I’m about to say, don’t you? Oh yes, everyone loves to dump out the box of Leogs. They could build all day long, spreading the things hither and yon throughout the house with nary a care for their future. As soon as it is time to clean up, however, it starts. The whining. The complaining. The tears and excuses as to why, suddenly, he is unable to pick up the light and, oh so versatile, little things.
Been there? Or maybe in your house the trigger is studying spelling words. That is definitely one of the least favorite school activities in our house. Math fact worksheet? Polly Pocket pick up? Whatever it is, every home has some areas that kids tend to complain about. I have a simple and extremely effective solution to this most annoying of problems.
Complain about work. Get more work.
Complain about blessing. Lose blessing.
Thankfully, you may only have to actually implement these consequences once or twice. Kids are smart. They do not like work. They definitely don’t want more work. They like blessings. They do not want them to go away.
So when the 3rd grader is sitting at the table and frowning and grumbling about her schoolwork, I might say something like this, “It sounds a little like you are complaining” accompanied by a knowing look. Child knows what said look means and suddenly stops complaining, preferring to get on and finish her work quickly so she can go out and play. Even the youngest of children can understand that one page of math fact review is better than two, no?
It works the same way when your child is given a blessing but is still complaining. ”Is that all the ice cream I get? ”Her scoop is bigger than mine!” “Um, honey, it sounds like you are complaining.” Followed by the knowing look. Child makes the choice to be thankful for what he or she has rather than lose the treat.
Now if it would just work for me…grin.
What behavior changing weaponry do you use? Please share!