I HATE Whining.
When I say that, I mean it feels worse to me than the fingernails on a chalk board phrase.
I HATE whining. And my kids do it. All. The. Time.
That's when I asked myself, "What would Bill Cosby do?"
What's funny is I have found myself asking that question a lot with my kids getting older. I grew up on the Cosby show and they had such inventive, creative ways of dealing with their kids. So what would Bill do?
Well, I am not sure that this is what they would do, but it got my creative juices flowing.
After so much whining and then so many frustrated "pleas" from mom about "stop whining", Paul and I got together, and decided we needed a plan.
We called a family meeting and discussed our two current issues that needed correction.
Whining and Disobedience.
We sat the kids down and prayed first. Praying has its all calming power to refocus everyone and get us all on the same page. As much as 2, 5, and 7 year old can be on a page.
We talked about how we wanted them to succeed and we talked about how much they were probably really tired of being corrected by mom and dad. We wanted to create a way to help them and remind them about the things that come out of their mouth.
Then we brought the Bible out and read a few verses about honoring God with our words and whining.
Are you communicating with a self-controlled voice? (that NEVER happens here!)
How does God want you to communicate?
Titus 2:12 says, "Whining is an ungodly form of communication. God wants you to use self control, even with our voice."
Also check out, Proverbs 25:28, Galatians 5:22-23, Ephesians 4:29, 2 Peter 1:5-8. These helped us point our kids to WHY we ask them for certain behavior.
Then came the idea.
The kids will get 10 pennies each morning. (This idea actually came from the Bernstein Bears when Sister Bear was biting her nails. Apparently, Paul and I are incapable of creating our own inventive parenting techniques. We just steal from imaginary families.) Every time they whine, they have to put a penny in the jar. We went and got an old canning jar, and asked the kids what we should their money should go towards. We decided to make it the "Car Repair Jar".
So every time the kids whine, we save money for the next time our car is in the shop. This will never amount to much, but we really liked the idea. I had middle make a sign for the jar, (forget pinterest and all their fancy Martha Stewart like ideas, we just use scrap paper and markers. We are old school, its cheaper.) The next day we went to the bank to get a whole stash of pennies.
The kids were super excited because they started counting how many days they needed to be extra good to get a whole $1. It lasted a day. The second day, each kid lost four pennies. At one point, Little looked at me, knowingly complained and whined about lunch while she marched right into her room and got two pennies to put in the jar as she finished her whining. I laughed right out loud at her. Wrong move I know, but I couldn't help it.
So here we are... the jar is filling up. We don't argue as much about whining. They whine. We say, put a penny in the jar. If they whine about putting a penny in the jar, that will cost you 2 pennies. They have figured out that if they boldly say, "someone else is whining!" they also put a penny in the jar.
It may sound silly or over the top, but did I tell you how much I can't stand whining? This seems to be working. Even Little now will catch herself, stop, and say what she wants to say instead of the old habit of IMMEDIATELY turning up the half cry/half baby talk to communicate what she wants. I would say that is progress.
We tell our kids, we understand that whining will happen. What we want from you is for this NOT to be your first choice of communication.
But you know the thing about intentional parenting and communication and discipline?
If you aren't consistent, it doesn't work.
There have been a few times that Paul and I have looked at each other and said, "We just gave ourselves one more thing to manage and think about. If we don't stay on top of this, then it won't work." And yes that is true.
And though we still whine here in this house, because we are normal people who struggle to learn good habits, it is slowing working. And every few days, or at least once a week, we ask the kids, why do we have a "NO WHINE" jar? We want them to know its not just about how annoying it is, but that God desires better from us. We can glorify him and honor others with the way we communicate. That is why we do this. (And it drives me nuts.)
And we raised $1.15 for our next car repair!!!!!
I don't which is harder, teaching our kids good habits or saving for the next time our car breaks down.