14 June 2011

I Need to Stop Whining

In the not too distant past, I read an article discussing the ever so pleasing act of whining among children. It stated (in so many words) that if your children start whining, you need to stop whining. After all, they had to learn it from somewhere and it is most likely that they learned it from you. Now, I like to look in the metaphorical mirror as much as the next guy, but I never thought I would be doing it because of whining. Much to my dismay, Heidi has started whining so I am now faced with the challenge of seeking out my own whining and stopping it.

At first, I had no idea where it was coming from. But then one day, I noticed. Here's what I do:
"Heiiidiiiiiii....pleeease don't do that!" [insert whiny voice here]

Yikes! Do I really whine when I tell her not to do something? Am I whining right now? No, absolutely not because I fully intend to change this bad pattern of behavior. How am I going to do this? Let me be the first to tell you - I don't know.

As with most other things, I have found that acknowledging and recognizing where the problem is to be an excellent help. I can now consciously alter the tone of my voice when I am kindly asking Heidi not to do something and actually make it more of a "command" than a whine. Or at least a "normal" voice.

This is harder than I thought it would be.

I NEVER considered myself to be a whiner (except when I was purposely exaggerating) and yet I notice this tone of voice a lot as I'm speaking throughout the day. How did this happen and what does it mean? I need some time to explore this further, but I have a few thoughts to share right now.

Perhaps I lack self-confidence. If I was confident about what I was saying, I would say it with conviction.

Perhaps I don't really feel like an authority figure so what I say is never definite enough. I think there is a part of me that fears becoming "the disciplinarian" and not being liked as much because of it. But I don't want to go down that road.

Could it also be that I am intentionally being 'wishy-washy' so that I don't have to live with the consequences of what I say and instead place the responsibility on my child for the decision she makes?

Is this affecting how my children view me as a parent?

As I said, I'm not really sure about this, but I will be thinking on it for as long as it takes now. I know I need to start being mindful of this and that is what I'm going to do. I hope I will have a positive update for you in the future.


  1. Yeah ya do! It's really getting to me... ;-)

  2. I've already seen my 9 month old displaying similar behaviours to my own when something happens that she doesn't want (or she doesn't get what she wants) - mainly yelling, screaming, stomping around the room...that sort of thing.

    OK, maybe not quite that bad - but it's not far off sometimes! Scary to realize how very influential we are when we don't even realize it...

  3. You crack me up, Amanda! You're so right though. We really have to watch our own tone since kids mimic everything. I'll be keeping this in the back of my mind next time I am about to whine ;-)

  4. When my 17 month old rolled his eyes at me, he really drove home the point that you are making here. They can pick up even the most subtle of body language or the mildest inflections in the voice. It is a very hard thing to check yourself on - I've been rolling my eyes for over 30 years - but when you see this little mirror reflecting it right back at you it sure gets your attention. Great post!

  5. Ha. We all whine sometimes! It's so interesting how parenting makes you so much more self aware. One thing I kept doing was saying "hold on" every time Baby T asked me for something. Then I realized I better stop, unless I wanted him telling me the same thing every time I asked HIM for something!

  6. You're right Kirsten. It's not fair to you anymore! ;)

    I bet you stomp all the time, don't you Kelly? :)

    Thanks, Charise. I like being in the back of your head.

    It is so true, Jenn. Right down to the time Heidi made fart noise with her mouth and then said, "Did you hear that?" Yeah, no clue where she got that from....cough cough cough.

    I say 'Hold on' way too much too! I try to get uber fancy by alternating with 'Just a second!' or 'In a minute!' but I'm also trying to not say anything at all and just turn around and do what they're asking for.