At this point in my life I haven’t met any parents who actually want their kids to be whiners. Very few people intentionally invite the annoying sounds of “I want…” or the irritating complaint of “Why do I have to?”
So how does it happen? How do well-meaning parents gradually find themselves with sniveling, whining, negative kids? It’s really quite simple. The truth is that whining comes somewhat naturally to us all; we rarely need formal training to add it to our attitude arsenal. On the other hand, it takes determination to raise content kids. By taking the approach of “How to raise a whiner” I hope to help each of us as parents recognize some of the possible ways we inadvertently allow grumbling and complaining to grow in our children.
The tough truth is that whining kids grow into rather unattractive adults. It is not only in your family’s best interest, but in the interest of society at large that you weed the whining from your family garden. Your friends and extended family will be grateful. And of course your kid’s future spouses will thank you too! Here’s a tongue in cheek look at how to grow a good strong grumbler. I’ll start with two lessons this week and then continue with three more in my blog next week.
Lesson One: Give into the Whining
You’ve had a hard day and you just don’t want to hear it any more. It certainly is easier to give into the nagging than to say “no” to your child and deal with the consequences of crying and screaming. So go ahead. Give in. Give him what he wants. It will make it easier for you to give in the next time he whines for something, and that time is probably just around the corner.
Careful now. If in a weak moment you decide to tell your kids “no” or “wait your turn,” they may learn qualities like patience and self-discipline. If your goal is to raise a whiner, those positive qualities will never do. Immediate gratification and giving into desires is what you are after. Your best strategy for raising a whiner is to reason with your little grumbler and eventually give in. It will fortify his resolve to continue his demands, and it will help him develop stronger negotiating and manipulation techniques.
Lesson Two: Scream Back At them
“STOP IT!!! I DON’T WANT TO HEAR ANOTHER WORD!!!! JUST BE QUIET!”
Now your child knows she has your attention! And that’s just what she wanted; your attention. As you scream, your child will temporarily stop whining and you can feel great about weed-wacking the problem, even though the roots of whining are still there. The good news is you have taught your kids two indelible lessons in the process. First you have shown them that screaming is a very powerful tool. There’s a good chance they will follow your example and use the power of a scream next time they want something.
Secondly, the loud attention you give to whining teaches your kids a good solid way to get your attention. Now mind you they don’t consciously plan this out, and they don’t necessarily enjoy your loud screaming, but next time they feel they need your attention they know just how to get it. Whine, whine, whine and boy do you give them your full attention.
This blog was an excerpt from my book, A Positive Plan for Creating More Fun and Less Whining.
Next week we will continue with three more lessons on How to Raise a Whiner.