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Emotional Issues Crying and Whining     << Ch. 10 >>
Therefore now, O LORD, please take my life from me, for death is better to me than life.
- Jonah 4:3

Types Of Crying
One of the natural symptoms of the emotionalism discussed in the previous chapter is crying. Everyone has had their patience tested by a child who whines and cries. It requires a discerning parent to know why a child is crying, and apply the proper remedy. To ease matters, I'm offering the following examples of several types of crying and how you might respond:

1. The "lonely" child: A child starved for his mother's attention may react by whining. Being constantly critical or aloof with your child may produce the same response. Give a child like this more of your love and attention. Remember to keep him with you and let him help you whenever possible. Look for things to encourage him in, rather than criticize him for. A renewed display of interest on your part will restore his sense of security, and your sad child will turn into a cheerful, confident one in as little as a week or two. Try to ignore the initial whining and continue to give more attention in the future. 

2. The "tired or sick" child: If your child exhibits an unusual increase in whining, examine the circumstances. Could he be ill? Does he have a temperature? Did he get enough sleep last night? Has he eaten lately? If you find something amiss, treat the problem as needed and overlook the whining. If it is a matter of weariness, you can always have your child lay down beside you and take a little nap. Don�t let this go too far though. Despite fatigue, a child should still be expected to obey simple directions with a cooperative spirit. A deferred nap is no excuse for him to inflict misery on everyone around him. Correct him for any misbehavior as always, but provide for his needs by seeing that he gets more sleep. 

3. The "sensitive" child: Although all children are different and some are indeed more "sensitive" than others, I'm convinced that parents often inadvertently encourage hypersensitivity by overreacting to minor injuries or by extending too much sympathy when their child suffers minor slights. In these cases, parents need to alter their own responses if they hope to effect change in their child. Remember, children will imitate your reactions to different situations, and will pick up both good and bad attitudes from you. If you become hysterical when a minor injury occurs, expect the same from your child. If you are always feeling mistreated your child will too.

My children often rush to me crying over an invisible bump or scratch. I examine the spot seriously and then offer my smiling assessment: "I think you'll live." I grin, tussle their hair, and give a comforting hug. I may ask in a mock serious tone, if we should call the ambulance for a trip to the hospital. (They never want that.) Sometimes I tell them, with a smile, "Well, I don't see any blood, so I think you're all right". Then I send them back to what they were doing, or engage them in some other pleasant activity.

If the child has hurt feelings, I shift the focus to teaching him a more appropriate way to think, feel, and respond. I talk to him and encourage him to be nice to the other person anyway. We consider together some of the reasons why the offender might have acted that way. This creates the understanding that renders the act of forgiveness easier. I encourage him not to be easily offended and hurt by the actions or words of others. The objective here is to desensitize the overly sensitive child. A side benefit will be less crying.

4. Crying due to �injury�: Obviously you must find out if your child is really hurt or not. If there is an injury, but it�s not too serious, I will tell my child, "It's okay; we'll just clean this up and take care of it." I treat injuries matter-of-factly, not with hysterical panic or with too much indulgent sympathy.

If an injury is serious, apply first aid and head for the emergency room. GIVE COMFORT; IGNORE CRYING. If truly injured, a child�s crying will often subside once he's been comforted and attended to. If he continues to cry unnecessarily, encourage him to stop with a calm and simple, "That's enough crying now.� If your child is trained to obey, he will stop. If he isn�t, and doesn�t stop, don't use this as a training session. There are more appropriate times and opportunities for that.

5. Very minor injury; crying for sympathy: Toddlers cry at the drop of a hat for the smallest injury. It's a natural way for them to communicate and the urge doesn't disappear overnight with the acquisition of a few words.

But as they grow older it's the parents' job to teach them to control this urge to cry over everything. Some crying is legitimate and tolerable - when your dog dies, or when you suffer a broken arm. But it's not permissible to cry when you don't get what you want, or when Mother says "no." Crying over such trifles as these has nothing to do with pain or suffering, but is rather a demand for attention and sympathy. That being the case, do not commiserate with him any more than necessary. Doing so will encourage his continued self-pity and will likely even escalate the crying. Teach your child that it's okay to cry for a minute or so, but not for too long. Point out to him that if he cries so long and loud over minor things, no one will listen when he is really hurt.

6. Manipulative crying and whining: This is the kind of crying that many otherwise well behaved children soon discover and use against you for as long as you will let them. Too compliant to defy you outright, they have no qualms about passively manipulating you with their tears and sad faces.

Usually it starts with a true injury or emotional hurt. They cry and receive attention, as they should. But then one day, they realize just how much they enjoy this type of attention. A few seconds later, it occurs to them that they can very easily obtain more by more crying and whining. The next step is the discovery that they can get their way in all sorts of matters, once again, by more crying and whining. Soon they are employing this mechanism to rule the home.

Be honest in your assessment of your child to discern whether he is crying to manipulate or not. If he is, you can only stop it by being prompt, tough, and relentless. Begin by stating there will be no more unprovoked crying, no more crying when Mom says "no", and no more crying for minor injuries. Then prepare to be a mean mother. Stand him in the corner, or even spank, IMMEDIATELY, with the first sniffle. Whatever you do, you must discipline EVERY TIME without exception. If he tones down the crying, but switches to pouting and sniffing instead, tell him that counts too. Only silence and a pleasant face will do. Be tough, and maintain as zero-tolerance approach to this type of manipulation.

7. Defiant crying and screaming: The most disagreeable type of crying is the kind that exhibits bold, angry, defiance and rage. This type of crying should never be allowed to continue. Once he is older, he�d be swearing instead of crying. Two or three "I mean business" swats on the posterior are in order for this type of defiance. The spanking itself may not immediately stop the screaming, but it will communicate your intolerance of this kind of disrespect. Corner time and Outlasting, will likely be needed as well, especially if you did not administer the initial spanking soon enough. Let him go only when he is again calm, quiet, and has control of himself. Be sure he is willing to obey you unconditionally with a pleasant attitude. Move to close Tomato Staking according to need after that. You should never allow this type of screaming.

Strike a scoffer and the naive may become shrewd, but reprove one who has understanding and he will gain knowledge. 
- Proverbs 19:25

Whining Instead of Asking
Nancy: My two-year-old can talk, but she whines for whatever she wants, instead of asking. What do I do to stop this?

Elizabeth: First, be sure she is obeying you well in other areas. Then, every time she whines for something, tell her to stop whining and ask nicely. If she doesn't stop immediately, view it as a training opportunity.

Tell her to closer her mouth and be quiet. Stay close to her and hold her chin up toward you and require her to look at you. Repeat your instructions as needed, and outlast, without spanking, until she obeys.

When she is quiet, tell her how she must request things. Demonstrate for her, using the tone of voice you require and the proper words - "Juice please, Mommy?" Have her imitate you. Smile and congratulate her as she tries.

Once she's got it right and is displaying a nice attitude, respond pleasantly and positively. Remind her to "ask nicely like that the next time."

Repeat this process every time she whines. Watch for times when she doesn't whine but asks correctly, the way you�ve taught her, and reward her with a bit of praise: "Sure! You may have some juice! And the way you asked so nicely makes me very happy!"

And when they received it, they grumbled at the landowner, saying, 'These last men have worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden and the scorching heat of the day.' 
- Matthew 20:11-12

Screaming When She Doesn't Get Her Way
Angie: My nineteen-month-old daughter screams bloody murder when she doesn't get her way. What can I do to stop this?

Elizabeth: Because she is young, I'd train her for obedience in other things first. Loud crying or screaming is hard to stop because it is such a spontaneous and automatic emotional reaction. First, train her to obey every other request promptly. Once she knows that she must always obey you and does so consistently, it will be much easier to stop the screaming. In fact, it will most likely lessen or even cease on it�s own. Once taught to respect and obey, she should relent when you simply say, "Stop crying."

Now, assuming that she understands "no", and is beginning to obey, here's what I would do. I would have her look at me, and I�d say, "No. Stop screaming." I'd give her a gentle, painless pat on the mouth so she would know what I was referring to.

Screaming is like blinking to a little child. You have to get her to realize that she is doing it, that her mouth is the problem, and that she can control her mouth. Instead of saying, �Be quiet�, instructing her to "close� her mouth, will help. That makes more sense to a toddler.

Keep your own voice low. Say "Shhhhhh" and hold your finger to your lips (this will come in handy later when you�re in church and can't use your voice). Pause, then repeat until she stops. Do not allow her to do anything else until she is quiet and ready to obey nicely. Outlast her. Avoid spanking unless she becomes angry.

If she does become angry, stay firm and don't back down. Don't keep patting her mouth. That is just to get the idea across, which should happen very quickly. Switch to giving a firm swat on the bottom now and then if her angry screaming persists. Don't keep swatting either. Just be deliberate and swat occasionally as needed to let her know that you won't relent. Persist until she gives in and is quiet. Outlast her.

If she is determined, this may take a long time, so be prepared and don't try this when you are in a hurry. Once she gives in (or tires out) and stops, give her something else to do that you can control. Sit her next to you for a few minutes, before letting her go back to playing.

To get this to stick for the long term, watch her and repeat the process with every lapse. If you do your job, she will eventually be motivated to control herself, and the screaming bouts will be over.

Do not complain�
- James 5:9

An Older Child Who Cries to Get His Way
Ida: My eight-year-old son has developed a baffling and irritating new habit. Deny him anything he wants and he erupts with a siren-like cry that grows into a sobbing, tearful temper tantrum!

I know I shouldn't yield, but I can't stand it and I do. I would like some other way of handling the situation. Any suggestions?

Elizabeth: If this is unusual behavior for him, I'd look for something troubling him. Is he having problems with his schoolwork? Have you been unable to give him the usual amount of attention lately? Are there any hidden fears? Address these problems first and give him a little time and see what happens. Meanwhile try to avoid situations that might encourage this behavior.

But, if there is no change, or if the misbehavior worsens, get tough. As soon as he starts, discipline him in some way that is immediate and negative, and makes him regret his misbehavior.

Ignoring only, never works because we never truly ignore completely. It's impossible to ignore a screaming child forever. At some point you will show evidence that the crying is having its intended effect, and that's all that the child needs to keep him going.

A good primary strategy is to stand him in a corner where he has no audience. Put him where he can't see if you are watching (but be sure you ARE watching), and where there is nothing to divert him. Ignore the crying, but step in and discipline if he turns or leaves the corner or otherwise disobeys. Eventually, he'll get tired of screaming, and will stop and ask to come out.

When he does, tell him, "Good, now because you were crying for no reason, you must stand there for a while longer. I'll let you go when you can act like a decent human being." Adding this extra time will make him think twice about doing it again. Do this unfailingly, every time, the instant he starts the crying. Don't speak to him during this corner time, since your attention (even if negative) will reward him and encourage him to continue crying.

Do not express sympathy when he cries to get his way. Explain the new rules: "You whine, you go to the corner," then stick by them. Don't set a specific limit for the amount of time you keep him in the corner. Don't budge until he has a good attitude, one that expresses remorse and willingness to obey. Do all the "gentle" teaching you wish after he has chosen to be quiet and obey.

When a wise man has a controversy with a foolish man, the foolish man either rages or laughs, and there is no rest.
- Proverbs 29:9

A Compliant Child Who Whines
Elaine: My three-year-old daughter is fairly well behaved except that she whines and pouts. Is there any way to stop this? My husband wants to spank her, but I don't think that will work. Today, I completely ignored an episode and it went away eventually, but to ignore it is not a solution. Is there a better way?

Elizabeth: Consider this odd fact: it is invariably the compliant children who do the most whining and pouting. The reason: they can get away with these things without directly defying you. They have a lingering trace of rebellion, but fear the consequences of direct confrontation. So they use this more subtle approach.

It's difficult to discipline these children, because they are usually so good, and Mom feels guilty for getting tough with them over something so seemingly minor. But, of course, if you don't get tough, they will persist. 

Ignoring is not the answer. Just as most moms can�t bring themselves to spank for whining, neither can they totally ignore whining. So, the child picks up on the small signs that show that Mom is annoyed, the child�s hopes rise, and the whining increases. The parents become more and more frustrated, and eventually they lash out at the child in anger. Now matters are far worse than they were to begin with. The child is crying instead of whining, and the parents are feeling twice as frustrated and guilty to boot.

Spanking seldom works either, unless you can remain calm, but really spank briskly at the first sign of whining, and do it every time. (That works.) Still, most parents have trouble spanking for whining, and I confess that I do too. It just seems too harsh for such a minor infraction. Of course, that's why the whining persists. Whiners know you are not going to get tough with them. Their misbehavior and rebellion has located a perfect safe haven!

So, I continue to search for creative, non-spanking options to cure the whiners. I�ve already detailed the outlasting approach. Sometimes continued reeducation helps: "I will not listen when you are whining and crying. Talk to me in a nice voice." Immediate banishment to the corner is often very effective.

Whatever option you elect, you will succeed only if you: 1. Nip it in the bud, 2. Take all the reward out of it for them, and 3. Don't let them do anything else until they stop whining completely and can talk in a normal tone of voice.

Jesus answered and said to them, "Do not grumble� 
- John 6:43

"The Screamer"

Here's a helpful exchange between myself and several other moms regarding their screaming children:

Tami: My daughter, almost three, has been a screamer since birth. Although things are improving, she still does it far too often; and she is so LOUD! She will cry over things that are very small and trivial. It's so bad that she's nick-named "The Screamer" amongst our relatives. Here's an example: 

(She comes to me and asks if she can sit on my lap when I am on the computer�)
Me: �No sweetie".
(She begins to wail loudly.)
Me: �Stop fussing right now�.
(She cries.)
Me: (I spank her, one swat) �Stop right now". 
(She cries louder.)
Me: (I spank again, and then give her a few seconds to compose herself.)
(She makes no effort to stop.)
Me: "Stop crying right now".
(She continues to scream.)
Me: "Look at me. Stop crying � now�"

This goes on, with variations, for what seems like forever. She cries; I spank and instruct; she cries; repeat, repeat, repeat. Finally she stops, smiles for me, and obeys my instructions for her to �wait�. 

But it doesn�t end there. A few minutes later she begins howling again and the entire scene repeats itself all over. It never seems to really end until she either gets what she wants or until her mind wanders off onto some other subject. That is just one instance of what repeats itself throughout the day, all day, every day. Any ideas?

Elizabeth: She's got quite a habit going there, doesn�t she? Not only is it a habit, but I think she must be getting some satisfaction out of all the attention and drama.

Clearly, what you are doing isn't working. I think you need to try a different approach to break this habitual cycle. As soon as she erupts, say nothing, but administer one firm swat to the bottom, and stand her in the corner. Choose a corner where you can see her, but be sure she stays facing the wall so she can not see any of your inadvertent reactions to her annoying crying. Do not audible react to her either. It is very important that she does not feel she has an audience.

Don't order her to stop crying yet. Simply let her know that if she wants to cry, she must stand in the corner by herself - �Where I don't have to listen to you.� Spank if she leaves the corner, but otherwise pay no attention to her. She'll probably continue to exercise her lungs for a while, but eventually she'll get tired and stop.

Soon she'll ask to leave the corner. Tell her, �No.� Don't say anything else. She'll probably start crying again, but ignore her. Only step in if she sits down or tries to leave the corner. Don't say anything, just correct her and return her to the corner. At that point tell her, "You wanted to cry, so stand here and cry. Don't ask when you can leave. I'll tell you when you can leave."

Trust me, she will know why she is there, so don't explain any more than that. The more you talk, the more excuses you'll provide for her to continue arguing with you via her whining, sniffing, and crying.

Eventually, she will be standing quietly. Let her stand for a while longer. This entire process may occupy a half hour or so at first. Even if she gets the idea quickly and cooperates, wait until she is thoroughly bored before releasing her. Don't talk to her or interact with her at all except to correct as needed. When you are certain she has the right attitude (not crying, and resigned to spending the rest of her life in the corner), then tell her to come to you. Have her look at you and ask her if she is finished crying. She'll probably say, �Yes.� Respond to her with, "Good, now go play and don't let me hear that crying any more." 

Important: Repeat this the next time she starts up again and every time thereafter.

The idea here is to surprise her with a different approach that gives you several advantages: (1) It changes the focus from something you can't easily control (her crying) to something you can easily control (standing in the corner). (2) It removes all the pleasure she gets from the crying. (That's why it is important not to visibly or audibly respond to her.) (3) Standing in the corner is something that will make her uncomfortable and motivate her to give up her beloved screaming habit.

Because you can't really stop her from crying, remember not to tell her to stop crying until she is willing to cooperate. That way, she gains no sense of power or satisfaction from continuing to disobey you.

Tami: Thank you! I am trying it right this very minute. I hadn't even finished reading your answer when she started a screaming altercation with her sister. I gave her a firm swat, put her in the corner, and told her to stay there. She got quiet pretty quick! She fussed for a second, then put her fingers in her mouth (a habit we only allow at night time). I corrected her and said, "Fingers OUT". Then she cried a little more. So far so good! She has been standing there for about a minute, totally silent. I will update you on how it goes the rest of the day!

Elizabeth: Now don't release her too soon. Make sure it soaks in.

Tami: Ok, the first time I probably let her go too soon. After I told her, "No fingers", she became quiet and stood still, so I let her go after five minutes. I hope that's okay.

Tami: Second time: A bit later she began the same excessive crying again. She was sitting in a box and her baby sister crawled in with her, which launched her into a crying frenzy. I said, "Out of the box now". I placed her in the corner and said nothing.

She didn't fuss at all. Several times she sighed a little. Then she started playing with her clothes and I told her to stop. She started to cry, but it didn't last long. Overall, she stood there for about fifteen minutes.

Tami: Third time: This crying jag is bad. Right before lunch, she hit her big sister. I gave her a swat and said, "No hitting." She cried and cried and cried, so in the corner she went. It's lunchtime now and she is still there. Every few minutes, she senses that she might miss lunch and she starts to scream. She alternates between quiet and screaming, but never stays quiet long enough for me to let her out. I took her to the bathroom for a potty break, after which it was straight back to corner. Finally, after about five minutes of complete silence, I let her out. She is so happy now and being such a sweetie!

Elizabeth: Good job so far!

Tami: Fourth time: She made it through her lunch and was being as sweet as can be. When she finished I told her she could have some fruit snacks in a minute. Well she then started this slight fussing, which isn't full out crying, but just little sobs, if you know what I mean. So I told her, "You need to wait a minute and then you will get them". I sat there and watched her while holding the fruit snacks in my hand. She kept doing her little sobbing thing while trying to pretend she wasn�t crying, so I sent her back to the corner. She is there now and it has been fifteen minutes. She is crying off and on. Whenever she stops it is only because she has her fingers in her mouth. After I tell her to take them out she starts screaming again. 

Okay, another five minutes have passed. She has been silent for these five minutes with no fingers in her mouth. I let her out of the corner and again, she is so happy and loving. I told her to go color. She asked politely for her fruit snacks after she started to color. I said, "Yes, but you must wait a minute." She said, "Ok mommy I wait". And she did, very patiently! She was thrilled and thankful when I finally gave her the fruit snacks. I think this is starting to work!

Tami: Back in the corner for the fifth time: We went a couple of hours from the last incident to now, with peace and quiet, which represents an big improvement. But then, while playing with her sister, the screaming erupted. So here we go again...I really hope this works.

Elizabeth: Just a caution here: At this point, if you start using this technique for everything, its effectiveness will quickly wear off. Right now, you should ONLY use it for whining and crying. Give her the impression that this habit is particularly unacceptable, and that's why she gets this particularly tough treatment.

Fawna: Okay ladies! I�ve been following this exchange and I tried it last night with my Barry who just turned two last month. Failing to get his way last night with his big brother, he immediately commenced to wail. So I looked at him and said, "Oh, if you're going to cry, you must do it in the corner, Honey." I said this with a smile, then set him in the corner. When he tried to get up, all I had to say was, "Stay there, Barry!" He actually turned back around and resigned himself to staying there! I was amazed!

I thought for sure I would have to fight him on that one! He cried for about five minutes -- pathetic, woe-is-me crying, while I played with his siblings. Every time he would turn to look at us I would say, "No Baby, sit there and finish crying." After a period of silence I said, "Oh, are you done?" He tentatively started to scoot towards me, to test my reaction. I held out my arms and he climbed into my lap. I told him, "It's much better when you're not whining and crying, isn't it?" 

This morning, when he started in again as usual, I said, "Oh, do you need the corner again?" and he immediately stopped! I was shocked! I didn�t let him see my surprise, but I could have picked my chin up off the floor! Thank you, thank you, Elizabeth!

Elizabeth: Sounds like your little fellow is a quick learner, Fawna. Now just continue to be consistent with this. Crying equals The Corner.

Tami: I haven't had to repeat the corner treatment since the fifth time last night. She did start to fuss a bit and I said, "If you're going to fuss, do you know where you can do that?" She said, "In the corner." The tears stopped and I haven't heard a peep from her. Ordinarily, she would have already had a fit or two by this time of day. Thanks for this excellent solution!

Tami (two days later): Just an update. Yesterday, we didn't have to do the corner at all! She was corrected with a swat a couple times for disobedience, but quickly dried it up when I told her to. At one point she started to fuss at her sister and was about to go into a screaming fit. All I said was, "Do you want to cry in the corner?" She said, "No Mama" and the crying was over. Thanks a million!

A scoffer does not love one who reproves him, He will not go to the wise.
- Proverbs 15:12

Learning the Hard Way
Grace: Okay, here's the short version. Ever since our latest baby was born seven months ago, our kids have spiraled downhill in both their behavior and attitudes. Of course, we've always had an excuse: we're all adjusting to new baby, the kids are tired, Mom's tired, somebody's sick, Mom was sick for a week and dad took over and let them run wild...

Finally, my husband and I have confronted the excuses, and the truth is we've become incredibly inconsistent, we have been tolerating impudent back talk, and we have responded in anger far too often. 

So, in an effort to remedy matters, I conducted a family forum this morning on the kids� need to be obedient and to honor their parents. I told them that Mom and Dad have a job too: to love them, and to train them with discipline -- not punish out of anger. At the end of my short lecture, I laid down the law: no more bickering, whining, and back-talking. Violators would be sent to the corner immediately every time.

Within five minutes, both boys were sent to the corner. I followed your cure for "The Screamer". Ruddy, after twenty minutes of sitting, said, "Sorry" and has been playing nicely all day since. Joel, however, is testing me. He has been in the corner much of the day.

Here's the problem. He will not obey in the corner. He keeps turning around and talking to his siblings. He grabs at them if they walk past him, and he keeps pestering me to release him. His attitude is nasty.

What do I do? I know that he fully expects me to get angry, yell at him, and then spank. I am determined not to lose my temper like that, but it's a real trial! For example, a few minutes ago he asked for a blanket to sit on because the tiles are cold. Then, instead of sitting on it, he kept dropping it on his head and playing. I took the blanket away and now he wants a book. I keep stopping every sentence with, "Joel, be quiet and face the wall. Every time you speak you are adding time to how long you are going to be there." It doesn't seem to be helping.

Do I spank him, or what?

Elizabeth: By all means, spank him. Some children will only learn the hard way. He is deliberately defying you, and doesn�t plan to quit until you yield. So the next time he speaks or turns around, spank. If necessary, post yourself next to him with paddle in hand. Don't speak or argue with him. If he wants to make this into a battle, oblige him with the paddle.

Don't tell him you are adding more time on; that just sounds like a threat. Do tell him that he stays until you are convinced he is ready to obey.

Don't make him comfortable! What's with the blanket!? Make him a little UNcomfortable. If he persists, make him more uncomfortable. Make him stand up and put his hands on his head and give him a swat if he puts them down. (Use common sense � every once in a while have him put them down or shake them so they get some circulation -- but then make him put them right back up there again.) Don't explain why you are doing this; he will soon realize that the way to get comfortable again is to give in and obey. 

Grace: I finally won at 3:30 P.M. and he has been a joy ever since! 

I hovered over him and delivered a swat each time he peeped. I also made him stand facing the corner with his arms straight up in the air while he counted to fifty. If he put his arms down, I made him start over. THREE times, he reached forty-nine and put his arms down. I made him start over each time.

I can't imagine why he would punish himself this way, but he did. After he finally counted to fifty with his arms raised, I let him put his arms down, but still made him stand in the corner another ten minutes. He apologized and has been a new child ever since.

In conclusion, let me say this is the first time in the past four months that I didn't lose my temper and let him win. No doubt he will test again, probably to see if he can win with Dad. We are both determined to win though, and break this cycle of hysteria! Thanks!

Elizabeth: Wonderful work, Grace! Now save this and tape it to your refrigerator as a reminder for next time.

Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.
- Proverbs 12:1

Untamed Whining Leads to Misery
Dear Elizabeth,

I never allowed my children to whine and I make no exception for my grandchildren. I simply found it unbearable. Now I see a far better reason than my personal irritation, to disallow such behavior.

The best reason is that a whining, pouting, tantruming child is truly miserable, a fact that sunk in recently when I spent a day with a friend and her two-year-old grandson. What an experience! That child whined for everything...first time...every time. "Just-on-the-verge-of-tears" whining, was his habitual day-long demeanor. He was truly miserable.

So now I correct more for the sake of the children's own happiness than because I find them irritating. Now, if I swat a grandchild's bottom for pouting after a reprimand, and say, "No pouting. Play and have a good time", I am doing it to render the child's life joyful. I am setting up this child for future success and happiness by consistently helping him to reject and transcend the frustrations and anger that will poison his future paths.

Correcting behavior does not drive a child to bury or deny his feelings. Rather, he learns he has a choice regarding those things he will think and act on. One cannot think good thoughts and smile while stewing and sulking in anger. Try it.

Another major reason I discipline pouting is because every minute of pouting, whining, and rebellion is a minute outside of God�s desire for us, and of happiness lost. In correcting my grandchildren for this, I am teaching them to do as we are told in Philippians 8:8-9: "Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things." I am teaching my grandchildren to dwell on, think about and ponder, what is good; knowing that their reward will be genuine, radiant joy.

Your truly,
Sandra, mother of five, grandmother of ten

For to a person who is good in His sight He has given wisdom and knowledge and joy�
- Ecclesiastes 2:26

(c) Copyright 2007 L. Elizabeth Krueger.  All rights reserved.
Scripture quotations taken from the NASB.