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What do you do with kids who are compliant, but


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Whine, cry, fuss while doing what they are told? I have two such children. They often whine and fuss when I tell them to do things, but have learned that not doing what they are told will quickly lead to losing privileges and/or sitting in time out. Now, it seems they have decided to just fuss WHILE doing what I said.

 

DS7 was screaming while picking up the living room floor before dinner. And then blamed me for his throat being sore. :glare:

 

Anyway, I just don't know what to do about it. They ARE doing what I said . . . But it's so unpleasant! Thoughts?

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Our kids are required to be respectful and that includes actions. If they don't do it with respect, we playfully ask them to perform a re-do with respect. If they can't at that time, they can have a time out to re-regulate and let me know when they're ready to do the re-do. It's exhausting sometimes but it really works.

Edited by misslissa
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DD13 went through a whiny phase. We put a paper on the fridge and every time she whined, she had to stop what she was doing and put a mark on the paper. She HATED that! It took a few days and once she was aware of how much she was whining, she was able to control it a lot better.

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Whine, cry, fuss while doing what they are told? I have two such children. They often whine and fuss when I tell them to do things, but have learned that not doing what they are told will quickly lead to losing privileges and/or sitting in time out. Now, it seems they have decided to just fuss WHILE doing what I said.

 

 

Just extend the rule to "doing it pleasantly". My son didn't start fussing until he was 9, and I make a point of stopping immediately and telling him 3 or 4 things I don't "feel" like doing (supper, card game etc), which got the point across quickly. Sometimes when he's doing something cheerfully, I'll point out how much faster things go when one is cheerful. However, I don't think this more mental method would have worked when he was 4.

 

Recently I upped the level of abstraction. Kiddo was fussing about a disappointment earlier in the day. I told him the Zen story about the two monks who met a fine lady at the river, and the older one carried her across. Later in the day, as they were about to reach the temple, the younger one said he couldn't restrain asking why the other had touched a woman, something they were forbidden to do. "I put her down by the river. When are you going to put her down?" This worked, and if the situation ever comes up again where he is holding onto a bad attitude, I'll not hesitate to bring it up again.

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I do a couple of things that have helped with this (it's not 100%); my kids are a little older (10, 12, 17) so YMMV.

 

First of all-- I try not to say "I need you to ____. " This gives the impression that it's something I should have done, but am passing on to them. Instead, I try to say, "It's time for you to ____." I also try to give advance warning that a task is coming. "In five minutes, it's time for you to turn off the computer and clean the litter boxes."

 

Secondly-- I thank them in advance for meeting my expectations. So, I might say, "It's time for you to clean the litter boxes. Thank you for doing it with a good attitude/without screaming/without arguing." There's something about thanking them ahead of time for something they haven't even done yet that deflates the attitude. I may still get some eye rolling because the older ones know that I'm using a tactic on them, but I'm good with whatever works.

 

Oh, a third idea-- Instead of lavishing a lot of praise for doing the things that they should do anyway, I "notice" that they've done something. "I noticed that you put your pajamas in the hamper when you got dressed this morning." It's recognition of effort, and it's reinforcing.

 

A good trick for youngers, that I learned when I was teaching outside the home, is to tell them what you want them to do instead of what you don't want them to do. When you say, "You need to stop screaming," it's a negative message, and the last word their little ears hear is "screaming". Instead, say, "You need to use a voice that is quiet and sounds happy." This gives them a task to start doing instead of something to stop doing, and the last word they hear is "happy".

 

These are not quick fixes; consistency over a period of time is key. AND never let 'em see you sweat! :001_smile:

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Prevention and praise

 

Preview the exact behavior wanted ahead of time, being very specific so they know what it looks like. They can practice ahead too.

 

Also, have you read All of a Kind Family? THe mother wanted her girls to dust cheerfully w/o dawdling......she hid a number of coins in the room to be dusted and made the chore a fun one so the girls fought over whose job it was to dust. I thought that was pretty clever.

 

And then, show genuine gratitude and praise for a job well done.:001_smile: My kids seem to need me to spell out why their efforts were helpful.

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I'd ignore the fussing. Set them to work, thank/notice them for their efforts when they are done, but close your ears to the whining and carrying on. Pretend like they are doing just what you want and eventually they will.

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I have not heard everyone else's responses, however, I wanted to say that what you are describing is not compliant.

 

Compliancy is a heart issue. If your children are "obeying" you only with their actions, but not their heart, then you will possibly be set up for larger problems down the road.

 

In our house, although we are FAR from perfect, the kids know that it's not true obedience unless they do it:

 

1. All the way

2. Right away

3. No matter what

4. With a cheerful heart

 

It's easy to obey when it's something you want, etc. It shows true character when you choose to obey, even when it's something you don't want to do.

 

I would put your foot down immediately, gather the troops, and have a serious discussion on what it means to obey. Screaming while doing it is certainly a heart issue that needs to be addressed.

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Well, I think it depends. Do you fuss about it? If so, stop and it'll probably end. Just walk away and don't worry about it. They will see it is getting them nowhere and stop.

 

However, *I* could not do that even if I thought it best. With young children and children just learning, it is often best to give them a choice of what TO say when issued a command. In your case, they may need a short list of what they CAN do during the obedience also. This gives them something, often a pat answer, that they can turn to. It also is *very* easy to correct this way.

 

Me: Xavier, please bring me all the dirty laundry from the back.

X: Yes, Mom. (or "right on it" or "yes, ma'am" or "sure thing" or whatever floats your boat)

Me: :)

 

OR

 

Me: Xavier, please bring all the dirty laundry from the back of the house.

X: ah man (as he walks that direction)

Me: What is the correct answer?

X: yes, ma'am

Me: thank you for answering nicely

 

Now, at that point, if he's often sour, I may help him by making it a race or starting to sing a song (I can make a song out of ANYTHING!). I have one who is *really* quite sour, an Eeyore, and I look at it as trying to teach HIM what things he CAN do to bring himself back up.

 

Anyway, my examples are obviously quite simple. It will probably take a little more work at very first. But it is the simple correction which will work long term. And you don't have to keep a programmed response, but it seems to help at first.

 

Oh, I've been reading Love and Logic Magic (the one for little kids). LOVE one of their main suggestions. It's to say, "uh oh...." It is impossible to sing "uh-oh" in a preschool teacher voice and NOT calm down yourself. Also, after just ONE day of using it, my kids started using it, they would play with it, they started being less sour around correction, etc. Seriously, the "uh-oh" is MAGIC!

 

I've also been teaching my littles this thing we did with my bigs called "TOV" for "tone of voice" and "take two" which means, "take a second to get yourself together, then restate, redo, or excuse yourself."

 

Anyway, *I* would not go the punishment route (usually!) because I think this is a teaching opportunity. They are getting to learn a life skill. Instead of punishing for what they did WRONG, I would want to give them the opportunity to do it RIGHT.

 

I think I'm getting my groove back after it being gone a good year or so now :)

Edited by 2J5M9K
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I have not heard everyone else's responses, however, I wanted to say that what you are describing is not compliant.

 

Compliancy is a heart issue. If your children are "obeying" you only with their actions, but not their heart, then you will possibly be set up for larger problems down the road.

 

In our house, although we are FAR from perfect, the kids know that it's not true obedience unless they do it:

 

1. All the way

2. Right away

3. No matter what

4. With a cheerful heart

 

It's easy to obey when it's something you want, etc. It shows true character when you choose to obey, even when it's something you don't want to do.

 

I would put your foot down immediately, gather the troops, and have a serious discussion on what it means to obey. Screaming while doing it is certainly a heart issue that needs to be addressed.

 

 

:iagree: Yup. You cannot "make" someone have a cheerful heart, obviously. But you can talk about ways to make even chores you dislike more enjoyable. Like playing music, singing, using a timer and then doing something "fun" when your chore is over. I do this myself, like when I clean all three bathrooms THEN I can sit out by the pool with my book for 30 minutes, something to that effect. I would not ignore any whining, complaining or screaming, it would most certainly be dealt with in our house.

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I don't see how anyone can be made to feel cheerful about tasks they hate
.

 

They can't. However, they can be taught to learn to be more cheerful. And they can definitely learn not to make everyone else miserable just because they aren't cheerful. It is a choice to be miserable. A LOT of times I have to CHOOSE to think of things differently. But under no circumstances do I have the right to make other people unhappy if I choose to be miserable instead. Screaming for 3 minutes as you pick up the livingroom is most certainly encroaching on other people. Fussing in your head is quite another thing. But I'd prefer my kids learn they don't even have to do that.

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We're working on this continually w/ dd1, who is a natural whiner. I make her redo her reply if she doesn't say it nicely. If she is continuing with a bad attitude we will send her to her room to "find a new attitude" which actually works really well. Dh started it and I thought it a bit harsh how he said it but it often ends up making her laugh which helps diffuse her, or she goes to her room until she is able to be calm. You have to be consistent on it though. I notice if I let up for awhile she slips back into her negative patterns. I tell the kids they are not allowed to yell, scream, be means, call names, hit, etc around everyone if they wish to act that way then they cannot be with everyone else. Everyone is expected to be respectful.

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Attitude is part of obedience. We disciplined for repeated bad attitudes. I explained to them that the rest of us should not have to suffer thru their bad attitude...it was selfish of them to inflict their noise and complaining onto the rest of us. It's also a sign of con-compliance. We didn't ask them to do anything unresonable and expected it done with a cheerful heart/attitude in a timely manner.

There was more than one time when each of our 5 spent time in a corner AFTER their chore was done for a rotten attitude. Or, they were given MORE work.

Don't put up with it. You're the mom, insist on your standards.

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Well I flunk #4 when it comes to many tasks. I've just learned to keep my whining to myself. I don't see how anyone can be made to feel cheerful about tasks they hate.

 

Obviously you can't make anyone have a cheerful heart, but the part that needs to be addressed is the underlying selfish intentions. They might be "doing" the act that is requested, however they are begrudging their mom the entire time and making it miserable. Instead they need to be seeing these chores as acts of service to others. By helping with a portion of the work they are showing love to their parents and respect for all they do for them. To scream is contrary to all this and not teaching the children about gratefulness, honor and respect.

 

The cheerful heart doesn't from being excited about cleaning toilets, but from showing mom that despite not enjoying the chore they chose to do it anyways, to honor her and show her love.

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Well I guess I just don't get what you are saying. I can make my kids do things without whining. That usually involves reward or punishment. In terms of their intention, I can't change that.

 

I do dishes because I know they need to be done. I don't do it out of love or honor.

 

Honestly, I just want the task done. I don't care how they feel about it. If whining gets them through it, so be it.

 

But you do do dishes out of love, whether you realize it or not. You do the dishes so your family will have dishes to eat on at the next meal, so your home environment is not cluttered, but clean, etc.

 

I'm not saying that this heart change happens immediately, but if you start and continue a dialogue with your children that sets up, reminds, and allows for opportunity to serve others, then slowly the heart follows. They may not want to do the chore, but because I lOve you mom, I want to do it as pleasantly as possible.

 

At the very least they have to understand that their whole life will be about doing things at times they don't want to do. It still needs to get done and a cheerful attitude will go al

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If they don't do it with respect, we playfully ask them to perform a re-do with respect.

 

I think DD4 will respond well to this.

 

 

These are not quick fixes; consistency over a period of time is key. AND never let 'em see you sweat! :001_smile:

 

Great ideas! But, wait, this is work? It won't get better right away? Darn it!

 

 

 

Oh, I've been reading Love and Logic Magic (the one for little kids). LOVE one of their main suggestions. It's to say, "uh oh...." It is impossible to sing "uh-oh" in a preschool teacher voice and NOT calm down yourself. Also, after just ONE day of using it, my kids started using it, they would play with it, they started being less sour around correction, etc. Seriously, the "uh-oh" is MAGIC!

 

Anyway, *I* would not go the punishment route (usually!) because I think this is a teaching opportunity. They are getting to learn a life skill. Instead of punishing for what they did WRONG, I would want to give them the opportunity to do it RIGHT.

 

 

In my former life, I read Teaching with Love and Logic. I think I'll find the book you mentioned. I think I agree with using this as a teaching opportunity rather than another thing to punish. I feel like there are so many things I punish them for. :sad:

 

If she is continuing with a bad attitude we will send her to her room to "find a new attitude" which actually works really well. .

 

I like this. I remember now that my sister does something like this with her daughter.

 

I explained to them that the rest of us should not have to suffer thru their bad attitude...it was selfish of them to inflict their noise and complaining onto the rest of us.

There was more than one time when each of our 5 spent time in a corner AFTER their chore was done for a rotten attitude. Or, they were given MORE work.

 

This is my biggest issue . . . I avoid asking them to do things with the littles are sleeping because I'm afraid the fussing will wake them up!

 

Since I just said I like the idea of not punishing, I feel silly saying I like the 5 minutes in the corner! But I specifically like that you do it when they are done. So if we go that route, I'll need to remember that point!

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Also, have you read All of a Kind Family? THe mother wanted her girls to dust cheerfully w/o dawdling......she hid a number of coins in the room to be dusted and made the chore a fun one so the girls fought over whose job it was to dust. I thought that was pretty clever.

 

And then, show genuine gratitude and praise for a job well done.:001_smile: My kids seem to need me to spell out why their efforts were helpful.

 

What a great idea, for a short term fix anyway. We leave on vacation today so I just jumped up and hid tokens for their vacation spending money under all the stuff they need to get cleaned up before we leave!

 

I think you train them to show a right response first (compliance without whining), show appreciation for the good attitude (even if it's fake) and a true right response will come in time.

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Well I guess I just don't get what you are saying. I can make my kids do things without whining. That usually involves reward or punishment. In terms of their intention, I can't change that.

 

I do dishes because I know they need to be done. I don't do it out of love or honor.

 

Honestly, I just want the task done. I don't care how they feel about it. If whining gets them through it, so be it.

Sure you do. You probably don't realize it though.

 

One washes dishes so they aren't piled up. The piling up of dishes leads to a filthy kitchen. A filthy kitchen eventually leads to a filthy house. A filthy house leads to a call to CPS. CPS comes in and takes the children away. So ultimately you wash the dishes because one loves one's children.

 

Or alternately a filthy house leads to one's husband spending more time at work just so he doesn't have to handle the filth. Which could lead to him noticing another woman. Which in turn could lead to emotional attachment to said other woman resulting in divorce.

 

So because one loves and honors ones family, one does the dishes. If one truly doesn't care, one would not do the dishes.

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I have not heard everyone else's responses, however, I wanted to say that what you are describing is not compliant.

 

Compliancy is a heart issue. If your children are "obeying" you only with their actions, but not their heart, then you will possibly be set up for larger problems down the road.

 

In our house, although we are FAR from perfect, the kids know that it's not true obedience unless they do it:

 

1. All the way

2. Right away

3. No matter what

4. With a cheerful heart

 

It's easy to obey when it's something you want, etc. It shows true character when you choose to obey, even when it's something you don't want to do.

 

I would put your foot down immediately, gather the troops, and have a serious discussion on what it means to obey. Screaming while doing it is certainly a heart issue that needs to be addressed.

 

Obviously you can't make anyone have a cheerful heart, but the part that needs to be addressed is the underlying selfish intentions. They might be "doing" the act that is requested, however they are begrudging their mom the entire time and making it miserable. Instead they need to be seeing these chores as acts of service to others. By helping with a portion of the work they are showing love to their parents and respect for all they do for them. To scream is contrary to all this and not teaching the children about gratefulness, honor and respect.

 

The cheerful heart doesn't from being excited about cleaning toilets, but from showing mom that despite not enjoying the chore they chose to do it anyways, to honor her and show her love.

 

The cheerful heart idea speaks to me. There is a song on one of their CDs with this line: "Doing God's will in the little things, like listening and obeying with a joyful heart." I certainly want my children to learn to serve others like Jesus did. I suppose I need to work on this as well.

 

I may take those 4 points and put them on a poster to hang up, as much for me as for the kids.

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Our kids are required to be respectful and that includes actions. If they don't do it with respect, we playfully ask them to perform a re-do with respect. If they can't at that time, they can have a time out to re-regulate and let me know when they're ready to do the re-do. It's exhausting sometimes but it really works.

 

:iagree:

 

This is basically what I do with my 5 yo son. Whenever the complaining or whining starts, I ask him to sit in the other room until he calms down & changes his attitidue. Sometimes it takes longer than others. But on the good days when he cranks things out with a positive attitude, whether it's schoolwork or chores, I heap on the praise.

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I have 4 children who whine in varying degrees. My 6yo is the worst right now. He flops over and complains about the smallest things, and then takes forever to do his chores. A few things that work sometimes:

 

Setting a timer with a consequence. For instance, "everyone has to do their kitchen jobs within the next 20 minutes or Daddy won't have time to read out loud tonight." This one seems to work best when dh sets it up. They know that he will follow through with the consequences and won't be swayed by any of their tears. They are so busy trying to beat the timer that they forget to complain.

 

Offering rewards for going above and beyond their normal chores--"Hey I need some extra help with xyz. If you can get that done for me in the next half hour you can play Wii for a little while"

 

Making it into a race or game. When my oldest dd was younger, she loved to play a game where they would pick up 5 things and then have a 10 second silly dance, pick up 5 more things and dance some more. My 6yo loves to put things away while I count. I say, "put these pencils away before I count to five" and he races through the house to see if he can get back before I get to five. He comes back laughing and out of breath, wanting to know what to put away next. This actually works for my 2yo too. I got my whole room cleaned up last night with them racing to put away all their books and toys that had migrated in.

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FWIW...I asked my boys what it meant to do a chore, even one they didn't like with a cheerful heart. They told me that it's doing the chore pleasantly because they love me and want to show me respect.

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Obedience in our house includes having a good attitude. When the kids were little we used the phrase, "right away, all the way, the happy way." They needed to obey right away, complete the task and have a good attitude about it. Anything less was treated as disobedience and disciplined.

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I have not heard everyone else's responses, however, I wanted to say that what you are describing is not compliant.

 

Compliancy is a heart issue. If your children are "obeying" you only with their actions, but not their heart, then you will possibly be set up for larger problems down the road.

 

In our house, although we are FAR from perfect, the kids know that it's not true obedience unless they do it:

 

1. All the way

2. Right away

3. No matter what

4. With a cheerful heart

 

It's easy to obey when it's something you want, etc. It shows true character when you choose to obey, even when it's something you don't want to do.

 

I would put your foot down immediately, gather the troops, and have a serious discussion on what it means to obey. Screaming while doing it is certainly a heart issue that needs to be addressed.

 

:iagree::iagree::iagree:I could not agree more!!!

 

One thing that has become abundantly clear to me in our family is the effect of the parents’ example. Parents who complain and whine will raise children who complain and whine. SO – if you struggle with complaining and whining yourself, I’d start there! If I want my DS to pick up his things cheerfully, I need to also pick up his things cheerfully. If I just command him to pick things up because I don’t want to do it myself, and I refuse to help, and I get irritated because of the clutter and his not working hard enough, fast enough, and happily enough, then I am modeling for him unhelpfulness, resentment, and irritation – so why should I be surprised that that is what he learns?

 

And as far as *how* to cultivate that cheerful spirit – I think it can be greatly encouraged by focusing on what it’s opposite is… put OFF complaining, and put ON *gratitude and love*. So when I am struggling with a complaining spirit, I try to think differently about my situation. What can I be thankful for right now? How can I show love to God in this situation, and to my husband, my children, the check out lady at Walmart, our piano teacher, whoever…? When DS is picking up his toys, I try to pick them up alongside him, and try to point out to him how thankful we must be that we HAVE so many toys and books! That we have grandparents who are living and wonderful and love to give him things. That we have our very own home where we can keep our belongings. When we are setting the table, doing dishes, etc. I try to point out God’s kind provision to us of food, etc. You get the idea.

 

There are SO many things to be thankful for, and SO many ways to show love to others. If we focus on THAT, then we redirect ourselves from our complaining and whining. And as parents, we must start with our own hearts first.

 

And like a PP said, it is through consistency that you will see fruit – in both our own hearts, and in the hearts of our children.

 

Well I flunk #4 when it comes to many tasks. I've just learned to keep my whining to myself. I don't see how anyone can be made to feel cheerful about tasks they hate.
My morning ritual is to call up my dad and complain about doing dishes.

Calling up your dad and complaining is not the same as keeping your whining to yourself ;-)

 

I flunk #4 plenty too, but I have to just keep working on it. Sometimes the best I can do is “keep my whining to myselfâ€! Listening to others’ complaining is SO tiresome and brings everyone down, so I hate when I make someone listen to mine!!! :-P And yet I DO sometimes, for sure. So I keep pressing on and working on it. You ask “how anyone can be made to feel cheerful about tasks they hate†– well, I think that “putting off complaining and PUTTING ON love and gratitude†is how. But that being said, I’m very thankful that God’s mercies are new every morning, ‘cuz I need them every morning!

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I would enforce the inside voice rule in this case and use it as a learning exp. Screaming = sore throat.

 

Whine, cry, fuss while doing what they are told? I have two such children. They often whine and fuss when I tell them to do things, but have learned that not doing what they are told will quickly lead to losing privileges and/or sitting in time out. Now, it seems they have decided to just fuss WHILE doing what I said.

 

DS7 was screaming while picking up the living room floor before dinner. And then blamed me for his throat being sore. :glare:

 

Anyway, I just don't know what to do about it. They ARE doing what I said . . . But it's so unpleasant! Thoughts?

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:iagree::iagree::iagree:I could not agree more!!!

 

One thing that has become abundantly clear to me in our family is the effect of the parents’ example. Parents who complain and whine will raise children who complain and whine. SO – if you struggle with complaining and whining yourself, I’d start there! If I want my DS to pick up his things cheerfully, I need to also pick up his things cheerfully. If I just command him to pick things up because I don’t want to do it myself, and I refuse to help, and I get irritated because of the clutter and his not working hard enough, fast enough, and happily enough, then I am modeling for him unhelpfulness, resentment, and irritation – so why should I be surprised that that is what he learns?

 

And as far as *how* to cultivate that cheerful spirit – I think it can be greatly encouraged by focusing on what it’s opposite is… put OFF complaining, and put ON *gratitude and love*. So when I am struggling with a complaining spirit, I try to think differently about my situation. What can I be thankful for right now? How can I show love to God in this situation, and to my husband, my children, the check out lady at Walmart, our piano teacher, whoever…? When DS is picking up his toys, I try to pick them up alongside him, and try to point out to him how thankful we must be that we HAVE so many toys and books! That we have grandparents who are living and wonderful and love to give him things. That we have our very own home where we can keep our belongings. When we are setting the table, doing dishes, etc. I try to point out God’s kind provision to us of food, etc. You get the idea.

 

There are SO many things to be thankful for, and SO many ways to show love to others. If we focus on THAT, then we redirect ourselves from our complaining and whining. And as parents, we must start with our own hearts first.

 

And like a PP said, it is through consistency that you will see fruit – in both our own hearts, and in the hearts of our children.

 

 

I flunk #4 plenty too, but I have to just keep working on it. Sometimes the best I can do is “keep my whining to myselfâ€! Listening to others’ complaining is SO tiresome and brings everyone down, so I hate when I make someone listen to mine!!! :-P And yet I DO sometimes, for sure. So I keep pressing on and working on it. You ask “how anyone can be made to feel cheerful about tasks they hate†– well, I think that “putting off complaining and PUTTING ON love and gratitude†is how. But that being said, I’m very thankful that God’s mercies are new every morning, ‘cuz I need them every morning!

:iagree: with that. All too often the behavior I see in my children that I don't like is learned from me. Modeling is so important. It is a call everyday to make sure I'm living out the virtues I should and I often fail.

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