Most parents have dealt with a whining child at some point. I generally handle whining pretty well. It’s only when the whining turns to a “Moooommmmmmyyyyyy” multiple times that it really starts to grate on my nerves. Having my name whined will quickly begin to bother me. When that happens, I calmly explain to my children that it is bothering me. The good news is that I know what triggers the whining. My children only whine when they are tired. That isn’t to say that other things never exasperate the whining, but they have to first be tired for the whining to start. Knowing this fact not only helps me to deal with the cause of the behavior, but it also helps me to be more understanding. As a mother of four young children, I understand being tired.
Earlier this Spring, I was at the zoo with my kids. We had been walking a lot. I was pregnant at the time and wearing my 2 1/2 year old on my back. My older two kids were beginning to drag and we made the decision to head back home. As we began the long trek back to the entrance, an older child behind us began whining. I heard his mother comment that she thought he must be tired. I smiled to myself, as I don’t often hear insightful comments from other parents at the zoo. It was a nice change. The child countered that he was not tired and the mother snapped, telling him to shut his mouth or she was going to hit him.
I would like to assume that the mother was also tired and had just reached her breaking point. However, I can’t imagine how it could ever be considered acceptable to threaten to hit a child when you know that he is tired (or ever, but that’s a separate issue). Knowledge is power and she knew he was tired. That was valuable information she could have used to help him. Instead, she opted to threaten physical violence.
At that point, I suggested to my children that we pick up the pace and see how quickly we could make it back to the main entrance. I hope I always remember to try and be more understanding when I hear the tell-tale whine of a tired child and that I take that moment for a hug and kiss rather than a quick word from my tongue.