Friday, November 20, 2009

Conquering Complaining in KIDS

I'm so thankful for the many scarves that have been given for our "Scarves for Knoxville" project. It will be fun to share with you about this in days to come!

Well, it's Friday, and I said that today I would blog about how to get our kids to stop complaining. It's been on my mind all week. I've prayed for insight. I've searched scripture. I've asked wise friends. I've listened to people around me. I thought I was on the verge of something good when I took Jacob to a movie, and the sound and picture were not working. Being the only two in the theater, he said, "Hey Mom, maybe you should go 'complain.'" ;) What's the difference between "complaining" and "informing the attendant" that their fancy screen that I paid $8 for isn't delivering? :)

I hoped I might get a burning question about some issue of complaining that would allow me to digress and say I just had to put off the "kids complaining" topic. You see, I felt like the Lord was showing me just one simple truth, and it made me ... squirm. I was wanting to get some profound answer with points or a great illustration, but He has only given me something very simple.

In desperation I prayed scripture from one of my favorite Psalms:

Psalm 139:23-24

Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me and know my anxious thoughts; and see if there be any hurtful way in me, and lead me in the everlasting way that isn't so convicting!


I added that last little bit to make it personal :) .... and He knew what my heart was feeling anyway. I wanted to be able to say that kids complain because of things like:

  • ~ crazy, "bad influence" youth pastors ;)
  • ~ cell phone texting that makes them expect immediate gratification
  • ~ dangerous friends who are also messed up by youth pastors & cell phones
  • ~ modern tv shows that their dad says they can watch ;)
  • ~ the genes from the other side of the family
  • ~ the No Child Left Behind requirements
  • ~ the Economic Stimulus Package
It really didn't matter what I could pin it on! I just didn't want to stick it on the one thing that keeps coming to my mind: the best way to teach children not to complain is to model speech full of contentment and gratitude, absent of complaining and murmuring.


As my kids (and those around you, too ....) are with me in the car, at the checkout line, in the church auditorium, at the kitchen counter, or standing at the relatives' doorstep, they are learning as they LISTEN to and watch me. If I am hearing the sounds of grumbling as a common sound from the voices of my children, the first course of action is to ask God to give me new ears to hear my own voice from His perspective.

The Power to Stop Complaining Kids? A Parent's godly pattern of speech.

That's all I got. I wish it put the burden on someone else, but that's it. Deuteronomy 6 gives us a picture of a child who is learning about loving God and about His merciful plan for us while they sit and walk and live alongside their PATTERN. Our Heavenly Father is a great model, and He enables us to conquer complaining in our own lives first, so we can model gratitude to our children.

Next time you catch yourself saying, "Stop that whining and complaining," go in the bathroom, shut the door, look in the mirror, and repeat. ;) Then go back out and be grateful.

Blessings to you for a weekend without complaints ~

5 COMMENTS ~ Click here to leave a COMMENT:

Warren Baldwin said...

Powerful! I've read that 70% of a child's working vocabulary is learned by age 3. That means he/she has processed the words and the emotions of those words from mom and dad by age 3. During the next decade those perceptions are reinforced over and over.

What words are our kids hearing? Are they words that express appreciation, happiness, joy, faith? Or words that denigrate, are ungracious, demand more, are angry, etc.?

Very good post!

Karen Vogel said...

Thanks for reminding us. I grew up in a home where one parent constantly complained and critized. It is very hard to break those habits - even this long after leaving. I pray that my children are not complainers, and not difficult people to be around, so that they can encourage others around them. Thanks for pointing us in this direction!

Anonymous said...

It was rather interesting for me to read the article. Thank you for it. I like such themes and everything connected to them. I would like to read more soon.

Tonya said...

Whew!...that was deep. I can't even gather the proper words for this post/comment because it is so deep and so true and so humbling. Thank you.

. said...

Thanks...I definitely needed to read that today.