Often we just want our kids to stop whining and complaining. But there are times when we really need to listen to them. We need to listen to what they are complaining about. What are they upset about? What barriers are in their way, what is frustrating them, what is preventing them from doing what they are trying to do? Complaining can be their way of communicating that they have a problem.
Whining or complaining is often grating and we can dismiss it too easily. But is there a pattern, is there something we can do to remove the problem, to prevent it from happening again? The child is giving us clues as to what we can do to improve their environment.
"Can you get me a drink"
"Can you get me...."
"I can't get it"
"I can't reach it"
"I can't open it"
"Will you help me"
"I don't like it when..."
So many of these things can be solved by assisting our children in becoming more independent. I often find myself blocking out the noise when I really should be listening. Also listening to our children can empower them, it tells them that we respect them, we are listening, we care, what they say is important. Hopefully, the end result is less whinging and less complaining!
Otis had been complaining about how difficult it is to reach the large refrigerator and was asking for help every time he wanted a drink or snack. It's easier for him (and us) to have it all at his level and cool water in his own fridge!