Monday, February 22, 2010

Whining, complaining children

One mom wrote that her 9-year-old daughter would start whining and fussing whenever they gave her a task or asked her to do her homework. Even though she was capable of doing these tasks, she would say things like
“I can’t do it.”
“I don’t want to do that.”
“Why do I have to do this?”
“This is so hard.”

This complaining would go on for 10-15 minutes and was driving her mom nuts! In situations like these, it is helpful if parents can show empathy and then leave the child to handle it:
  • Say something like “I hear your frustration.” and then go to another room to do your own work (anywhere away from her so she doesn’t have you as an audience).
  • If you can’t leave the room for some reason, use the same repetitive response for each complaint – “Probably so”, “Hmmm ….”, “It is tough.” 
The unspoken message is “I know this is hard for you. You’re smart and I’m confident you’ll find a way to handle it.” This is a good message for any child!

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