When it comes to whining, complaining, and bickering, my policy is, "Just say no!" I don't like those things in myself, and I don't particularly enjoy being cooped up in a house with others doing them either.
Philippians 2:14-15 tells us, "Do all things without murmurings and disputings: That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world."
We aren't promised an easy life and in fact, we are challenged to strive to be content in ALL things. It will serve our children well in life if they learn at an early age how to be pleasant and appreciative even when things aren't going their way.
Here are my tips for kicking the Grouchy Gus attitude to the curb:
- Do not reward whining, complaining, and bickering with attention.
- Restrict what they're watching on TV. Many TV shows model and breed negative attitudes.
- Acknowledge the child's feelings, but redirect his thinking a la Romans 12:2.
- Cut down on bickering by having them clean each others' rooms or do each others' chores.
- Help your children to memorize verses about giving thanks, getting along with others, and joy.
- Have them list five things they're thankful for each day.
- Compliment them and build them up when they're showing self-control and maturity in how they handle difficult situations. Celebrate those good choices.
- Keep pointing them towards Scripture. Stories of faith and forgiveness, like Joseph and his brothers, illustrate somebody doing the right thing even when he had every reason to whine, complain, and hold a grudge.
- Be a good role model. Pay attention to your own words and actions.
- Do your best to set the kids up to be successful. Create a positive environment in your home, head off trouble at the pass, and stay engaged with your children.