If whining is driving you crazy, this is going to help.
Firstly, maybe it helps to know that, in most cases, your child doesn’t KNOW that they’re whining!
All they know is that something feels wrong and they want to feel better.
So my best tip is to ask yourself, “How can I help my child feel better?”
And then do that.
When you help them feel better, you model for them how they, as older children or adults, can help themselves feel better – which is ultimately what we all need to learn!
The curriculum of managing our feelings is so important.
Much more important than A*s at school.
Because undigested feelings cause havoc with our lives, disrupting our relationships and our ability to be fulfilled in life.
Whereas when we know how to look after our emotional state, we can take advantage of all the opportunities that life puts in our path.
So, whining isn’t in fact bad. It’s a great opportunity to teach your child about how to look after their emotional state.
It looks like this:
- Your child whines.
- You have an “aha” moment that something extra is needed.
- You give your child that extra care.
- Your child learns that when they don’t feel good, it’s important to listen to themselves and take care of themselves.
You see, most of us know we need to do more self-care, but do we do it?
Well one reason is because when we whined as children our parents probably said: “Please say that in a normal voice.”
Which is tantamount to saying: “I’m not going to help you feel better. Just pretend to feel better for my sake!”
So we spend our lives pretending to feel better!
Pretending to feel better looks like this: We feel like whining but instead of really acknowledging our uncomfortable feelings, we try to make them go away.
We tell ourselves we shouldn’t have these feelings.
We push them away, put on a smile and and act as if we didn’t have them.
Trouble is we do still have them. Like me this morning. You see, this morning I was feelings restless – and anxious. Despite these feelings, I just carried on with some admin work.
At lunchtime I realised I had spent the whole morning feeling bad and hadn’t given my feelings the time of day, beyond starting the day with my normal morning routine – which normally solves transient worries.
But these feelings we’re too strong and so they’d hung around.
So after lunch I decided to go for a walk to “listen to my feelings”. This isn’t something I would have done in the past. It’s something I have learnt is important, however. It went like this: I literally said to myself, “I acknowledge that I feel…” and then “I acknowledge that I feel…” and spent time listening to what feelings came up for me. I spent time focussing on exploring what my feelings really were.
When I got back I felt so much better.
Whether we go for a walk, engage in an honest conversation or just sit quietly for a moment – being genuinely interested in difficult feelings is healing.
For me, pretending to feel better isn’t enough any more.
I love feeling really well, vibrant and happy – and I’ve found that the only way to have this in my life is to pay attention to myself.
The great thing is that we can teach this kind of healthy practice to our children right now, by paying loving attention to them when they’re whining.
This is what makes whining such a great opportunity!
Why ask our children to pretend to feel better, when we can help them truly feel better?
And why pretend to feel better ourselves, when we can pay loving attention to ourselves instead?
So if whining is getting up your nose it could be a sign that it’s time to spend a moment paying loving attention your child.
And why not spend a moment taking care of yourself and your own feelings too, so you feel less triggered next time your child whines?
Wishing you a whine-free time.
Not necessarily a wine-free one, though!
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