Got a whiney child? Here are 2 things that helped us.

LauraAll Posts, Character Training, Motherhood

Lia and I recorded this video SEVEN years ago when she was just two years old. (Isn’t she the cutest thing?)

We were working hard on that whining thing because she whined through most of her waking hours. It didn’t help that she was super-small and had no pain tolerance – even the wind hurt her and we heard about it.

We were exhausted. Because whining is exhausting.

Today, that brown-eyed baby is a lovely 9-year old who – anyone will tell you – is one of the most contented people you could know. She is pleasant, thoughtful, and friendly… not to mention, kinda rugged. She loves to play outside and can work hard in a garden. If you met her you’d say, “Wow, she rarely has a negative thing to say!”

How’d she grow from “whiney” to “content”?

Lia gave me permission to tell you about the big changes that occurred in her life, so I’m happy to share what helped us.

Intentional character development…

We both agree that consistent and happy training like the example in the YouTube clip was very helpful. I’m so glad that she was home with me during those years so I could gently guide her out of her slumps over and over again. Sure, it took patience and endurance (on both our parts), but I think that by working on this day in and day out, we were able to get to the heart of the issue.

I’d pray for her consistently, and I know that God was at work in many ways to continue creating His masterpiece in Lia.

Because she had the preK-version mindset that “The Cup is Half-Empty”, when I’d tuck her in bed at night, I’d remind her of the beloved verse from Psalm 23, “He anoints my head with oil, my cup overflows!” (In fact, we still say that this is her “life verse”.) Remembering this truth and reviewing the ways God had blessed her that day helped to transform her mind (and mine) about life.

And a big, diet change…

But for Lia, it wasn’t only character development that helped her stop whining.

When she was three or four, we noticed that she was miserable every morning at breakfast, hunched over, moaning about a stomach ache. We tried all kinds of possible solutions, but couldn’t seem to help her. Was this just part of her whininess? Or was it something more? 

Then, my husband proposed that we try taking Lia off of gluten. He has a clinically-confirmed gluten sensitivity and thought perhaps she was “a chip off the old block”.

So, we helped her to avoid gluten for a week. Within 24 hours, we saw a change in her.

After three days, the stomach aches were completely gone.

So was the incessant whining.

All of a sudden, she was a regular whiney kid at worst. (Sure, she’d whine every once in a while if her socks were wet or something, but not all of the time like she did in the past.)

She grew taller.

Her already-fine vocabulary even increased.

We noticed. Other people noticed.

Lia noticed. And she loved the change…

Because she felt so much better, inside and out, Lia has taken full-responsibility for avoiding gluten. I’ve never had to look over her shoulder because she is more intentional about it than I am. I deeply appreciate this about her.

I’m so thankful that God led us to helpful choices – some for the heart, some for the tummy – that were perfectly suited to our little girl.

Consider these two approaches to helping your whiney kiddo enjoy life:

1.Character Training

We discovered helpful ideas in Turansky and Miller’s Say Goodbye to Whining, Complaining, and Bad Attitudes in You and Your Kids. They gave me specific approaches to daily challenges.. even the words to say. I’ll also be grateful for their insights! (Also, check out their National Center for Biblical Parenting for more helpful resources.)

2. Think outside the box. Is it possible that something else is going on? Could gluten be weakening your kiddo? Or maybe it’s food coloring? It’s worth trying some big changes in order to nurture your child toward health and happiness!

I’d love to know your tips and tricks for whiney children. Would you share them in the comments? (After all, I do have a 2 year old, which *could be why* we pulled up these old YouTube clips…)

P.S. Share this with a friend who needs to know she’s not alone. 🙂