Friday, October 18, 2013

The Whine is Flowing

In the process of moving, our children handled the stress of it very well this time. I remember very well the crazy that was my life in the months leading up to the move from Kansas City to Charlotte. This move however, from Charlotte to Dallas, was much more tame to be sure.

What was the difference? Well, my oldest was older, and she was able to grasp the move and share in the excitement more. My excitement and her excitement seemed to have a contagious effect on the two younger ones. 

I've also learned a lot more self control in the last year or so. To keep my kids calm and happy I had to find creative ways to keep myself calm and happy in the midst of transition. That is no small thing, people!

Third, we had a lot of notice about this move. Knowing a year in advance that you are going to make a cross country move is great for preparing mentally, physically and emotionally. 

So this time was better in a lot of ways.

One side effect of the move, however, seems to be the letting down of a few of our standards in the time of transition and discovering how hard it has been to re-raise those standards once things have settled down. 

One of our expectations for our children is that they will not harass us with whining.

Don't get me wrong. I don't mind them asking me for things, but not continually and not with an obnoxious voice or a negative attitude. Still, who am I kidding. We've never had great adherence to this standard in the past. Never 100% to be sure, or even close to 80%. 

During the move, the percentage of whining skyrocketed, and I tried to have a lot of grace on my kids. They are young, they are in transition, and they just don't know what to do with themselves. So I had grace......during the move.

Now that we have arrived in Texas and settled in though, I realize that the whine is flowing a little too freely still. What I excused for so long as anxiety about the move, well, they just don't have the same excuses now.

So what is the deal?!? What is up with all the whining?!? What do I do now?

I was baffled on what to do, but I've been reading a book about homeschool, and it covers a lot of other great family training ideas not related to formal education. One of the things it strongly suggests (unrelated to the whining issue we are facing) is making your children a part of the chores that go on in the house, and making regular, one on one time with each of your children as individuals.

As a mom I have always heard those things taught as essentials, but never really known how to kick start it in my every day routine. Also, as a child I was never required to do chores, so I feel guilty, for some reason, to expect it from my own children. This book however gives such great practical ideas and makes it seem such a very realistic goal. Now suddenly, I want to start instituting these ideas into our lives. I want to make one-on-one time with my kids, and I want to teach them how to be more involved in the workings of our home.  What I was unsure of how to do with one child, suddenly I am about to attempt with three children? Really, but I felt inspired to at least try it.

Ah, but the power of numbers! With each child I grow more and more confident, as a mother, to step out and try new things, trusting that the Lord has lead me well thus far, and will continue to do so. He gives me the confidence to make the changes that need to be made, and He gives grace to overcome the obstacles I encounter.

So just yesterday He gave me wisdom on how to incorporate both chore training and one-on-one time with my children, all with the goal of quenching the whine. For real, a three for one idea!

The plan. 

Whenever one of my children comes to me with some whininess, I will immediately ask them to help me with whatever I am doing, or I give them something to do. Examples: If I am cooking dinner, suddenly they are helping me cook dinner. If I am sweeping the floor, suddenly they are picking things up for me to sweep under, etc. If I am playing on facebook, suddenly they will be assign a different, constructive task, and then I will help them do it (I can see I will not be on facebook much for a while, they love to whine when I'm on facebook).

At first I was like, "what a second Lord, they are gonna like that idea! They like working with me, so that won't be punishment for whining."

The Lord simply said, "it isn't meant to be a punishment, it is meant to be a redirection, and in the process, perhaps they will stop whining because a deeper need is being met by having that one on one time with you."

"Lord, you mean the whine might be a need for more of my attention in their day."

I felt the Lord smile. Then I realized, not only did the Lord just show me how to meet a deep heart need in my children, but I am training them in chores, and giving them quality one on one time, all while helping to curb the whine. It sounds good, it feels realistic for my schedule. Sure, it might be a pain to give up my facebook to show them how to scrub a toilet. Sure, I could probably cook dinner faster without their help, but building their self-worth and personal sense of responsibility in the family just might be worth the extra effort. A bit of extra investment today will be a big payoff later too. These are life skills, and alas, facebook can wait.

I love the way the Lord brings simple, and yet mind-blowing wisdom into the every day kinds of questions I have about mothering.

Be encouraged, He has an answer for your questions today too!

Side Note: I have only slightly started this new idea. Three days, seriously.  I will post again on this subject in a few weeks. Hopefully to say it is going great and my kids are not whining and we are having lots of quality conversations while they help me around the house....or, I will say I've fallen off the wagon and admit to how things are really going with the plan. Either way, my plan is to be honest, and open about this process. New ideas are always a process, and there is always some tweaking to do. So I'll keep you posted. I am NOT supermom. I have bad days, and a period, and a dirty house, and sometimes I have all three at the same time. Just keeping it real.


Jody Aldridge said...

i wish i had made you learn to do chores, but because i worked all the time, i just wanted you to be happy all the time to make my life easier. :-) you're doing an awesome job Kate with 3 of my favorite people in all the world. love you girl!

abbieandbrett said...

This is exactly what we are doing with our girls. It is hard, but I know it will be worth it!!