Thursday, March 5, 2009

Parenting Tip on Preventing Complaining

Since I spent my last post complaining, I thought I would mention a parenting tip on how to prevent incessant complaining in your child. It really annoys me when my kids complain because they have everything they need. The complaints usually sound something like this- I don't like this food, I don't want to read, this is gross, I'm not going to eat it, why can't we ever go to the movies, we never get to go anywhere, I'm bored, other kids get to watch PG-13 movies, I don't have any clean socks to wear (this is sometimes a valid complaint), I never get to watch TV. 
  Nothing drives me crazier than when my kids are totally focused on themselves. This was especially a problem a few years ago with my oldest, Luke. It was never just one complaint, but a litany. He is really good at it. Listening to complaining is very draining and I have little tolerance for Negative Nellies. Before I knew it, I would be furious and with fire coming out of my eyes, I would give him a whole lecture on how he was so blessed with food and clothing and shelter and nice parents (most of the time) and ...... EVERYTHING! I would be prepared to drive him down to the mission in downtown LA to show him the children who actually  have the right to complain. My other idea was to take everything away from him so that he would actually have something to complain about. But, although my dramatic responses did have some effect, it was not what was needed in this situation. 
After praying about it, I was given a nugget of wisdom. The idea was to have him do some physical action every time he complained so he would be aware that he was complaining. I think it had become a habit that he was not really aware of. So every time he complained, he would have to walk up and down the stairs and if he complained about having to walk up and down the stairs, then he would have to do it again. It was great because it took my emotional response out of the equation. It took less than a week to stop the complaining. Every once in a while, he will slip back into it, but a couple trips up and down the stairs will remind him of his behavior. Sometimes a simple solution is the best solution.
The only problem is that every once in a while I will be talking to an adult and have the urge to say, "Up and down those stairs!"


4 comments:

sealbeachmama said...

OMG, I love this idea. Can you tell me if it would work on husbands????

Transparent Mama said...

Haven't tried that one yet, but he is not very obedient.

Anne Ericsson said...

Well, Maybe somedays I might have to send some of my friends to your house since none of them have stairs:)

Isaac said...

Jumping Jacks works too. In the warmer months in MN if a child is acting up, and now when they complain, i send them outside in the backyard to run 20 laps around our playground/swingset. They hate it :)