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Stop the Whining!

cohdra100_1411Remember in the ‘90s, when exercise guru Susan Powter used to appear on a television infomerical shouting, “Stop the insanity!” Well, some days I feel as stressed as she looked, and I just want to clench my fists over my head and shout, “Stop the whining!”

Whining has been a big struggle for us over the past year. We’re finishing up our school year this month; we’re a little behind, in part because of family issues, in part because of whiney children that just don’t want to do their school work. Often when I give them assignments they will moan, groan, and complain until I give in and shorten it. If I remain tough and keep the assignments as they are, the complaining continues until my patience wears out and my anger takes over. I just want to shout at them (and sometimes I do): “Stop the whining!”

But maybe it’s actually me who needs to “stop the whining.” Maybe I need to stop fussing about their attitudes and just deal with them instead. After all, a good work ethic doesn’t always come naturally – but I believe it’s something that can be learned, or rather, taught. Instead of getting angry, I could come up with ways to motivate them to get their work done – perhaps by taking away privileges, perhaps by adding extra assignments, perhaps by rewarding those who work hard without complaining. A little creative discipline could go a long way in teaching them to do their schoolwork, completely, well, and in a timely manner – skills that they’ll need for college and beyond.   

So, “Stop the whining!” might just be our catchphrase for this next school year. I’ll let the children know just what is required in regards to their attitudes and performance. And as I follow through and become more consistent with the consequences, I believe we’ll all whine a lot less and accomplish a lot more.