Hi. My name is Happiestdaddy and my kid is a whiner.
It’s as if he secretly enrolled in the John McEnroe School of Whining. He whines when he wants something. He whines when he can’t do something. He whines when he doesn’t get his way. He whines when we ask him to stop whining.
Don’t get me wrong. I love wine. But I HATE whine. Even Paul Giamatti wouldn’t drink this whine.
We can’t figure out why he does it. Neither my wife nor I are whiners. He didn’t grow up in a home filled with whining. (Ok, maybe I whine a little when the Orioles blow a 9th inning lead or my new favorite character on The Walking Dead gets devoured by a zombie, but that’s it. I swear.)
Unfortunately, there’s no National Whiners Institute to turn to for help. There’s no wristbands being worn for Whining Awareness. At last check, there’s not even a 12-step group for whining addiction. And trust me, our 3-year-old is addicted to whining. Sometimes it happens first thing in the morning — like the world’s worst alarm clock. We hear a subtle “ihhh” emanating from his room. Upon investigation, we’ll hear an “I can’t doooooo iiiiitttt,” referring to a). getting dressed, b). getting out of bed, c). getting dressed while getting out of bed.
On many mornings, it’s a full-on whinefest. Whining about not having the “right” cup for his juice. Whining about not being able to find his favorite train. Whining about us not doing something at the speed with which he demands it.
My wife and I wonder if we’ve failed him in some way. Have we reinforced his whining by giving in to his demands? Should we have taken a harder line? (This aggression will not stand, man). A therapist friend of ours gave us a simple, workable tip. She told us to tell him that when he whines, we’re taking a time out from him. We walk away and tell him that we cannot fulfill his wish until he uses a calm, grown-up voice. Shockingly, he usually does it on the first try. (Faker.)
So that’s our plan. We’ll keep using the time out method, boosting our patience to Mother Teresa levels in order to teach our son to quit whining. And at the end of a day filled with whining, the only thing that soothes our tired, weary ears is wine — the alcoholic kind. Preferably by the bottle. Or the gallon drum.
And an industrial strength set of earplugs.
Ya got a whiner in your house? What’s your antidote?
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