Listen to this story
I heard a good story (it’s probably not true, but that shouldn’t disqualify a story from being good) about a child with her parents in a supermarket who was smashing a trolley into other people’s legs. One shopper said, “Would you please stop your child from doing that?” The parents just smiled and said, “We don’t believe in controlling our child. We think she should just be a free spirit.” The other person grabbed a pot of yoghurt and tipped it on the child’s head and said, “I was brought up that way too. Good, isn’t it!”
It’s not loving to let our kids to grow up with a whole set of behaviours – like yelling, whacking, whining, bulling and lying – that just aren’t going to work for them in the real world. We’re coaches, and it’s our job to shape and hone their behaviour, and a good way to do that is, if they do something a wrong way, get them to do it again the right way. Take the way they talk to you. If they whine or grizzle or nag when they make a request, say to them, “I can’t listen to you when you talk like that. Pop down to you bedroom, find your nice voice and come back and ask me again.” Many kids would just whine harder at that point. “Hey, if you want my answer now, it’s ‘No!’, but if you ask me in a nice soft voice, like I’m talking to you, then I will listen. You pop in to the next room and practice, and then come back and ask me again”.
The vital part is to model the tone of voice – if you whine and grizzle at them, you shouldn’t be surprised if the whining comes straight back to you. Promise yourself now – “I will never give into a request made to me in a rude, whiney or bossy voice.” When they discover it doesn’t work, they will eventually stop doing it.