Friday, November 14, 2008

No More Whining!

My daughter is not really much of a whiner, but she does have a way of not always asking for things politely. Instead of whining about being thirsty she would ask for a drink in a demanding sort of way. A very irritating and loud demanding sort of way. Well, at last year's homeschool convention I listened to a speaker and found that she had an awesome technique to stop whining and other behaviors that showed a lack of self-control. Ginger Plowman, a Christian author, speaker and founder of "Preparing the Way Ministries" had some great advice. It was not anything new or innovative, in fact, it was pretty simple yet it is the key to getting to the heart of the matter, which is the heart. As she says, most parents work on trying to change the way their children "act." We figure if they learn to "act" right then they are being raised right, but that is not true. What we have to do is change the way they think. We have to reach past he outward behavior and reach the heart. Instead of just telling a child what they are doing is wrong we need to also teach them what the correct behavior and response should be. So instead of "don't yell at your sister", we should teach them why. We should show our sister love, and yelling does not show love. So we would ask, "is that showing love to your sister? How could you handle this situation while showing love?" She gives Biblical examples for each behavior and suggests appropriate responses to give the child. She even has a chart that has a lot of examples for a variety of behaviors. It is an awesome resource to get started with.

Wise Words for Moms

So, back to the whining issue. Ginger has a kit called "No More Whining" and in it are two books and a "no whining" watch. The "No More Whining" book is the parent guide for the kit explaining how to handle the situation and use the other tools involved. The second book is called "Whining Will" and is about a little boy who comes whining to his mother because he is thirsty. In the story the mother tells him she is not going to give him anything when he is whining. She explains that the Bible says we should use self-control, not whine. So she gives him the "no whining" watch and he goes away and waits for the watch to beep three minutes later. When it does he comes back to his mother and asks her for a drink using his manners and self-control. Its that easy!

In the kit you also get a watch. After reading this story "Whining Will" to your child you implement the same technique when your child displays their undesired behavior. It really does work and rather quickly I might add. I remember in the seminar Ginger Plowman said it usually only takes about a week for the behavior to change and that was pretty much our experience as well. Of course it only takes a week for the behavior to initially change but there are times when it will start to creep back in again. At that point you just use the watch again. We have actually not had to use the watch in quite some time, not even with the move! A gentle reminder seems to do the the trick anymore, but its nice to know its there if we need it.

Gess never had a problem taking the watch, but she hated to put it on. She hates anything on her wrist or in her hair for very long. So for kids with sensory issues like that you can still implement the procedure, just take them to their room and put the watch on their dresser while they wait on their bed for it to beep. Gess would always bring me the watch when it was beeping. If they play with it too much they can stop the timer, but having to keep starting over again is usually enough incentive to learn to leave it alone. For a special needs child I think it is a great tool to help them visually see what is going on in any "time out" situation. In fact, they are not really in time out, rather they are waiting to try again, but they now have a tool that gives them assurance that they will get that second chance. It also offers the consistency needed to make any discipline program successful.

When the watch beeps the children are gently cued that their time is up and they may now ask for the drink (or whatever they were wanting) again using their manners. Of course, there were times when her watch beeped and I had to remind my daughter what it was she wanted to begin with! She would forget that she had just "demanded" a drink or something. Regardless, she still managed to learn to use her manners and self-control in those situations. No, she doesn't always do so 100% of the time, but she now understands that manners and self-control are the desired behavior in those circumstances and most importantly she understands why. Using our manners and self-control are the way in which we demonstrate to others that we love them!

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