Dear Sue Ellen
When my daughter turned 13 she became a world class whiner. She whines about dinner, her hair, doing homework, spending time with her family. You name it, she whines about it. Is there any cure for this ailment?
Wit’s End Mom
Dear Wit’s End Mom,
It is not my intention to be offensive, but to discuss this problem, I should first ask: Are you a whiner? I’ve heard so-called experts in the field of child development say that children’s environments are a contributing factor to their growth and development. A child growing up in a home of whiners is more likely to become a whiner too.
Did you ever hear parent’s say “do as I say and not as I do”? I think it was meant to be a joke. Children learn how to behave through the behaviors of people around them. Parents are kidding themselves if they think children don’t see what is going on in their home. They may not understand what they are seeing, but it will impact how they perceive relationships and the world around them.
If you are still reading this column (after I hurt your feelings and gave you something else to whine about), thank you for staying with me. There is another likely situation going on here. It’s the “P” word that most parents dread and fear. Puberty. Those same so-called experts have a lot of opinions about puberty, but here is a short version. When kid’s bodies start the transition from child to adult, a lot of amazing and terrifying things happen. For example, hormones can put a child all over the emotional map (parents too). If you are interested, there are plenty of books in the library about puberty. I don’t know if there is a parent’s guide on how to survive puberty, but there should be.
As parents, we don’t get to dictate our children’s personalities, the way they look or how they will turn out as adults. But we do get to nurture them, teach them and watch them grow. It’s possible that your daughter’s whining phase will end. If nobody in your family is a whiner except your daughter, you may be asking yourself “Where did that behavior come from?”
I don’t know any parent that hasn’t asked that question about their child at some point in time.
I think some children are aliens from another galaxy. I hope your daughter isn’t from the Whiner planet.
In conclusion, the best remedy is love and patience…for both of you.
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