Saturday, January 22, 2011

How to Raise a Whiner (part 2)

Last week we looked at a humorous approach to how to raise whiners in hopes that we will actually do the opposite of these lessons in our own homes. Here’s a continuation of last week’s blog.

Lesson Three: Grumble and Complain About Your Problems

As we mentioned in the previous lesson, kids learn best if they can watch your own example, so if you really want a bumper crop of complainers you will need to complain on a regular basis. You know the old routine, “This restaurant never gets my food right.” “The music at church is too contemporary.” “The coach doesn’t rotate the players enough.” “The neighbors won’t keep their yard clean.” “The school isn’t training their teachers properly.” “No one is ever sensitive to my feelings.” “If only this or that.”

It’s pretty standard procedure for most of us. Just be sure your kids don’t hear you expressing thankfulness for anything or they may learn gratitude (a definite disadvantage for a whiner). And be very careful that your kids do not pick up on the times when you choose to look at the good in a situation. Then they may begin overlooking negatives and seeking out the positives in a circumstance or a person. By all means don’t let the kids focus on the positives or they may miss the negative stuff altogether.

Lesson Four: Shield them from Difficulties or Pain

Guard your kids carefully so that they never get a difficult teacher or lose a tryout or have a coach who won’t play them on the A team. If your children begin to feel any sort of disappointment or pain, pacify them immediately by buying them something or blaming it on someone else. If you really want to go the extra mile, step in there and yell at the coach or spread rumors about how bad the teacher is and try to get your precious angel moved to another class.

Pain and challenges in a child’s life may lead to qualities such as strength, perseverance and compassion toward others, which are certainly qualities that are unbecoming of a whiner. The old adage of the advantages to learning from “the school of hard knocks of life” is only a crock (at least you need to keep telling yourself that). Getting one’s own way without any challenges or difficulties teaches much more valuable lessons such as the “me first” and “I deserve” attitudes.

Lesson Five: Blame Others

“It’s okay, it’s not your fault.” This age old concept helps our kids advance to a higher level of complaint and moves them into the category of “I couldn’t possibly be wrong.” Fortunately the blame game allows them to get away with just about anything they want. For example an outburst of anger at the restaurant isn’t little Ashley’s fault, it was the waitress’ fault because she didn’t bring out the right flavor of ice cream. Or “Sammy grabbed the toy out of the other little boy’s hands, but it was because the little kid wouldn’t share it with him.”

Blaming others offers a child an entitlement for whining and delivers it on a silver platter with his or her name engraved on it. The mere hint of personal responsibility would begin to strike at the very core of complaining. Keep that self-centeredness in tact by steering clear of any sort of self-discipline or self-sacrifice. Forgiveness and understanding of other people’s faults is out of the question and would only lead to your child showing kindness or compassion.

After reading these lessons, I hope you are inspired to do quite the opposite and begin pouring positive principles into your children such as thankfulness, responsibility and service. Help your kids begin to look at the good and the hope in each situation and begin by doing it yourself. My hope is that you will raise thoughtful, God-fearing kids rather than whiners. Keep working toward that end with God’s help. The above lessons are from my book, A Positive Plan for Creating More Fun, Less Whining.

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