“WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!” I hammered back at the whining child in front of me, with a smirk. She stopped and stared curiously at me, confused, before she went right back to it.
“I WANT I-PAAAAAAAAAAD!”
“Stop that! Stop it NOW or you’re gonna get it!” her flustered mom yelled back.
“AAAAAAHHHHHHH! BUT I WAAAAAANT IIIIIIIIIIT!”
“I said STOP IT!” then, looking at me with embarrassment, “I am SO sorry about this.” as if I’d never seen or heard a crying child. As if the screams were damaging the walls and windows around us. As if children were supposed to be quiet and saintly at all times.
The child wasn’t embarrassed AT ALL! Why should she? She was in control of the whole situation!
As a last resort, mom looks to her daughter and promises, “If you be quiet we’ll go to McDonald’s afterward.” God help us.
What went wrong here?
First of all, it’s hard to blame mommy for being embarrassed in public. Our culture has come to believe that children are a nuisance and an interruption to other “more important” things, like adults, adults distracted by work, and adults distracted by their phones.
What happened to the days when kids were allowed to cry and make a racket, and nobody judged you?
Well, whether others will judge or not, we must stand our ground as parents and do what’s best for our children.
Rule #1: Don’t be embarrassed by your crying child. Instead, do what’s best for THEM, not what’s best for your fearful ego.
We have to put our children first. That’s obvious. So if they cry, don’t react to the loudness and the people around you. Stop and think it through like a loving parent.
Rule #2: Don’t yell at your kid.
Seems simple, but we all do it! “Shut up! Stop crying! What’s wrong with you! Why are you crying! If you don’t shut up, why I’ll…..”
The old adage, “You can’t fight fire with fire,” is especially true here.
Rule #3: Kids are human beings. Be loving and willing to understand your child’s feelings.
Guess what? You’re child is a human being, just like you! All jokes aside, we tend to forget this simple fact. We are so overcome by our own embarrassment and our own desire to get back to our mundane lives, that we forget that our children have deep, intense emotions that need to be tended to.
Start by understanding what it is the child wants, why they want it, and how they’re feeling. Ask questions, let them talk. Give them a hug.
That doesn’t mean you have to give them what they want!
Rule #4: NEVER reward bad behavior. (ONLY if you have already done rule #3)
In other words, you’ve understood your child’s emotions and given them love and understanding. NOW, if they continue to whine or pout, it’s time to say no.
If your child is asking for something in a whiny voice, no matter what it is, you have to say no. If you don’t, and you give them what they want, you’ve just given them a reward for the whining! You have now told the child, “Great job! I LOVE when you whine and cry! That’s why I just gave you what you wanted! I hope that you ALWAYS whine and cry when you want something, because I’ll definitely give it you!”
Rule #5 Please say “no” in a loving way. How you say it is so important.
If your spouse or your mom asked you for something in a whiny voice, would you say “NO! What the hell is wrong with you! Why the bi%$y attitude??” Hopefully not! Instead, you’d say, “I’m sorry honey, not right now,” or something polite.
Why would you treat a child differently? (This goes back to the fact that children are human beings.)
What I like to say is this: “Sweetheart, I would love to make you a cream cheese sandwich, but first you need to take a deep breath and be happy again, and then ask in a nice, big-girl voice.” Here I would give her a hug.
Notice that I gave her love and told her the right thing to do- to breathe and ask nicely. Why should I expect her to know what to do on her own? Our job is to LOVE and teach.
Rule #6: REWARD good behavior!
So once they DO ask in a nice voice, don’t say “You better talk nice!” or even just ignore it and give them what they want. Instead, say something like, “Aww honey that’s a good girl, thank you for asking nicely!” with smiles and hugs.
That’s what you want them to do, right? So reward it with lots of positivity. And of course, give them the thing that they want!
What if you don’t want to give them what they want, and they are whining, screaming, throwing things, tantruming, or banging their head against the wall? Then what?
First, refer back to Rule #3. Offer a listening ear and be willing to understand what’s happening.
Now, most of the time, they will not respond, and they’ll continue with their tantrum. At this point, IGNORE THEM.
I don’t care if the whole damn store is staring at you. Are you there to look pretty in front of random people? Or are you here to train up your child as a loving, happy human being?
Being there for your child means IGNORING HIM.
If you yell at him, you’re rewarding the behavior of tantruming.
If you give her what she wants, you’re rewarding the behavior.
If you threaten him, you’re just giving him more attention, and you’re rewarding the behavior.
If you do anything at all that involves them, you’re rewarding the behavior.
Just ignore it. Breathe deeply, relax, distract yourself momentarily with whatever is around you. Don’t raise your voice, don’t say anything to try and embarrass your child, and don’t react.
Once he or she is ready to interact with you, refer back to rule #3, and be willing to offer hugs, love and understanding.
Question: “My kid always does this for attention! I’m not giving it to him!”
Be careful. If your child is acting out, or even if she’s not, you need to ask yourself a serious question: “Do I give my child enough attention?”
Do you spend one on one time with your children? Do you give them tons of hugs and I-love-yous? Or do you let them play electronics instead?
Our children need tons of attention from us, up until they are adults. We all crave that attention, but we, as adults, look more to our spouses and friends. Don’t blame your children for needing attention; instead, give it to them- when they’re NOT whining, of course! Give them attention- and love- as much as you can. They deserve it. And then they wont act up for the sole purpose of getting attention from you.
What are your questions? Post them below!
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