I can tolerate a lot of things. I do pretty well with reason, logic, questioning, arguments, and even miss-communication. I however, do not do well with whining. This is a HUGE problem in my home. I house three children under the age of 10 and they all seem to suffer from CWS (Chronic Whining Syndrome). I recently read an article about grief and grief counseling and I realized that whining also follows those 5 stages.
1. Denial: It’s 6:45 A.M. My four-year-old enters the kitchen whining that his shoes do not fit. They fit yesterday, but today, they do not fit. He is hellaciously whining about his socks and shoes and the fact that this combination will not be occurring today. My approach, I deny his whines and continue to pack school lunches. I ignore his tone and move on to my next activity. I act as though he is nonexistent. I step over him to put on the coffee pot.
2. Anger: The four-year-old continues to whine until my pre-coffee self, raises my voice and states. “Put on your shoes, or you are going to school without them.” I know he needs shoes to go to school, but I have 23 minutes to get out the door with three children dressed, fed, and lunches packed. The four-year-old begins to flail around making unhappy tile angels on my kitchen floor. Staring at me with disdain and arms tightly folded, his protest escalates.
3. Bargaining: I sit on the floor and take a deep breath. “We have to put on your shoes so we can get to school on time. You want to see your friends right?” He looks at me as though he wants to run me through with a Samurai sword. “I want to wear flip-flops” he demands. “OK, but flip-flops are not allowed at school. It is against the rules. You don’t want to break the rules do you?” I ask. “No, but I WANT to wear flip-flops. PLEASSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSE MOM, I WANT TO WEAR FLIP FLOPS.” The whining is now grating on every bone in my body. It is my kryptonite. I can barely stand it anymore.
4. Depression: This is the point where I sit on the kitchen floor and think, “This is my life. I mean, seriously this is my life? Every. Freaking. Day. This is the shit I deal with. WTF. Why can’t he put on his shoes and get ready.” He looks deep into my eyes and says, “Mom, why are you so mean to me. Why do you make me get dressed every day?” Why does it have to be so damn difficult? I just don’t get it! I mean, I like flip-flops too, but seriously. Every. Damn. Day.
5. Acceptance: “Honey, I understand that you want to wear flip-flops, but rules are rules. How about we bring the flip-flops in the car and you can change after school?” I am almost positive that this will work. I can see the wheels turning in his head. He is methodically planning his next move. It’s like playing chess with freaking Bobby Fisher. “No Mom, I will just wear my boots.” You have got to be freaking kidding me!