Like many young couples expecting their first child, Kim and I talked through some of the “fights” we were willing to have with our kids. Several older and much wiser parents had told us to pick them carefully so we decided to get an early start. On the top of the “Our kids shall never” list was whining. My wife is much more sensitive to it than I am, but I agreed that it is annoying, to us and others, and at its core, disrespectful. So, we now knew that our kids would never whine. After all, if you discipline early the behavior never has a chance to really take root.
!!!!! WRONG !!!!!
As with a lot of things we “knew” before we had kids, this too proved incorrect. The problem? Whining is not a learned behavior. It isn’t! It is a natural out-pouring of our sinful and selfish nature. Josiah was never taught to whine. Shoot, we won’t even let him watch Caillou on PBS because he whines in the cartoon. No, Josiah knew that he wanted something and that he was not getting it fast enough to keep him happy; whining was born. After a few weeks… okay months of trying our best at curbing it we did some research.
What we found was the No More Whining book (kit really) by Ginger Plowman. The resource includes a parents manual, a child’s book, and a watch timer. The parent’s manual gives instructions and tips on how to use the story book and watch. It also provides some encouragement and what to expect. The child’s story book is short and to the point, telling the story of how Will learned to use his self-control and stop whining. It was well received. Our kids still select it for nap or bedtime reading quite often. The watch is a 3 minute timer. It matches the one in the story and was also well received.
The goal is not simply to change the child’s behavior, but to reach their heart. Remember my comment above about whining being natural fruit of selfishness? Well we need to teach our kids how to use their self-control and how to interact with proper respect for others. This it the true goal. By paring the watch and the story we did just that. It took a little while, as most things do, but Josiah understands that whining is bad not just because we don’t like it, but because he is not using self-control and proper respect. He will even tell you so.
I realize there or other ways to deal with whining. I also realize that this could be done without purchasing the kit above. We decided to though and have be very happy with that decision. If you have other ideas I would love to hear them.