Dealing with Whining Compassionately

Welcome to the April 2013 Authentic Parenting Blog Carnival: Peaceful Parenting Applied

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Authentic Parenting Blog Carnival hosted by Authentic Parenting and Living Peacefully with Children.  We hope you enjoy this month’s posts and consider joining us next month when we share about Peaceful Parenting Applied.

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Chances are, at some point or another, that tone has come out of your childrens’ mouths. You know the one. It’s the whine that grates on your nerves, making you want to pull your head inside your shirt, cover your ears with your hands, or leave. If you don’t deal with the whine, it just gets longer and louder and more, well, whiney. While you may find yourself wanting to walk outside and scream yourself, there are a few easy tips to keep gentle parents gentle at these times.

Don’t take it personally. This may be easier said than done, especially if the whine continues to include your name. Personally, when I begin to hear the “Moooooooom,” it takes on an entirely new level for me. As much as we may feel disrespected or underappreciated during these times, our children’s behaviors are not about us.

Define the cause. If the whining isn’t about us, what exactly is it about? That is the question of your day. You can’t begin to solve a problem if you don’t know what the problem is. Observe the situation. Think about what may be causing this seemingly annoying behavior, and set about making some changes. I know for my kids, whining signals that they are tired. We need to slow down, cut out some things, go for some quiet, easy going activities.

Connect with your kids. Yes, your child is whining and the last thing you may feel like is being around them, but when your children are exhibiting behaviors such as this, it’s a cry for help. They need you. Take a deep breath. Remember how much you love your children, and be there for them. Perhaps doing something with your child will be enough to break them out of their whining ways.

Actively listen. Everyone has bad days sometimes, and often we just need to have someone listen to us on those days. This is a great time to practice active listening so that your children understand that you ar ethere for them and that you really are listening.

Set personal limits for yourself. It’s okay to say that you are reaching your limit and that you would prefer to be spoken to in a normal voice. If you are having difficulty understanding because of the whining, explain that you can’t understand what your child is saying and that you need to know what they are saying in order to help.

Use play and humor. Try bringing a little levity to the situation by playing or using humor. When our children’s voices begin to take on that whining tinge, my husband has a difficult time understanding them. His go to phrase is “Hmmm. I couldn’t really understand what you said, but it kind of sounded like, ‘Daddy, you are the greatest!'” It hasn’t failed him yet. They will either laugh or take a deep breath to speak clearly.

Take control of your actions and words. As much as the whining may be driving us a little batty, we are still in control of our own actions. We get to choose how we act or react.

Remeber compassion. At the end of the day, think about the relationship you have with your kids. Every parent/child relationship is just taht – a relationship. remember to have compassion, both for your children and for yourself.

photo credit: polywen via photopin cc

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APBC - Authentic ParentingVisit Living Peacefully with Children and Authentic Parenting to find out how you can participate in next month’s Authentic Parenting Blog Carnival, when we discuss self-love!

 

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

 

Do you have blog posts about peaceful parenting or are you looking for some tips? This month, Authentic Parenting and Living Peacefully with Children are hosting an Authentic Parenting: Peaceful Parenting Applied link up! Check it out and help build a resource for parents striving to parent more peacefully.

Community Service Through Everyday Compassion

Welcome to the November 2012 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Family Service Projects

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have written about what service means in their families.

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Helping handWhen we think of community service, we tend to think of working with organizations: food pantries, animal rescues, recycling centers, or other such systems set up for the purpose of helping the community. Those are great ways to help our communities, but they are definitely not the only ways.

Every day, we are given opportunities, small ways of helping out others, if we only recognize them and make the decision to help. Helping out in our communities doesn’t need to be pre-planned. It doesn’t have to be huge. It can be done at any time, by anyone who cares to look around.

While our family has participated in many larger scale community service projects, I think it’s the compassion we show everyday which makes the biggest impact on our children. Handing out food once a year may help people on that day, but our community has needs all year round, and our children are watching all of the time.

When we take food to a sick friend or someone who has just experienced a life changing event, we are helping out. When we hold the door open for someone we don’t know or pick up trash while out hiking, we are helping the community. Organizing homeschool co-ops and field trips or helping out at the local school provides a service. Reading to those who can’t or really seeing a person as a person can make a great difference.

Community service doesn’t have to be some big event. It can be the small things. It can be done every day, and it starts with the compassion we shows others at home or out. When we treat others respectfully and help out whenever we can, not only are we making a difference, but we are raising a generation of people who will in turn treat others respectfully and help out wherever they can.

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Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

(This list will be live and updated by afternoon November 13 with all the carnival links.)

  • Acts of Service: The Great Neighborhood Clean Up — Sarah at Firmly Planted shares how her daughter’s irritation with litter led to weekly cleanups.
  • Running for Charity — Find out how Jenn at Monkey Butt Junction uses her love of running and a great new app to help feed the hungry.
  • 50 Family Friendly Community Service Project Ideas — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama shares a list of 50 family-friendly community service project ideas that are easy to incorporate to your daily, weekly, monthly, or seasonal rhythmn.
  • Volunteering with a Child — Volunteer work does not need to be put on hold while we raise our children. Jenn of Monkey Butt Junction discusses some creative options for volunteering with a child at Natural Parents Network.
  • Family Service Project: Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina — Erika at Cinco de Mommy volunteers with her children at the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina, where 29% of the recipients are children.
  • Family Service Learning: Advent Calendar — Lyndsay at ourfeminist{play}school offers her family’s approach to some holiday-related community service by sharing their community focused Advent Calendar. She includes so tips and suggestions for making your own in time for this year’s holidays.
  • How to make street crossing flags as a family service project — Lauren at Hobo Mama offers a tutorial for an easy and relatively kid-friendly project that will engage young pedestrians.
  • Pieces of the Puzzle — Because of an experience Laura from Pug in the Kitchen had as a child, she’s excited to show her children how they can reach out to others and be a blessing.
  • Appalachian Bear Rescue — Erica at ChildOrganics shares how saving pennies, acorns and hickory nuts go a long way in helping rescue orphaned and injured black bears.
  • Volunteering to Burnout and Back — Jorje of Momma Jorje has volunteered to the point of burnout and back again… but how to involve little ones in giving back?
  • How to Help Your Kids Develop Compassion through Service Projects — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now shares service projects her family has done along with links to lots of resources for service projects you can do with your children.
  • Involving Young Children in Service — Leanna at All Done Monkey, the mother of a toddler, reflects on how to make service a joyful experience for young children.
  • A Letter to My Mama — Dionna at Code Name: Mama has dedicated her life to service, just like her own mama. Today Dionna is thanking her mother for so richly blessing her.
  • 5 Ways to Serve Others When You Have Small Children — It can be tough to volunteer with young children. Jennifer at Our Muddy Boots shares how her family looks for opportunities to serve in every day life.
  • When Giving It Away Is Too Hard for Mommy — Jade at Looking Through Jade Glass But Dimly lets her children choose the charity for the family but struggles when her children’s generosity extends to giving away treasured keepsakes.
  • Community Service Through Everyday Compassion — Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children calls us to Community Service Through Everyday Compassion; sometimes it is the small things we can do everyday that make the greater impacts.
  • School Bags and Glad RagsAlt Family are trying to spread a little love this Christmas time by involving the kids in a bit of charity giving.
  • Children in (Volunteering) Service — Luschka at Diary of a First Child reminisces on her own experiences of volunteering as a child, reflects on what she thinks volunteering teaches children and how she hopes voluntary service will impact on her own children.

Compassion is not a Convenience

Photo by Aurelijus Valeisa

While viewing a lake at a local park, my children and I spotted something not too far off the shore, gasping. Just under the surface, I saw the signs of landscaping net, and I knew what had happened. Some of the landscape netting had made its way into the lake, where a poor, unsuspecting fish had managed to become entrapped.

I explained to my children what happened to the fish. At that point I could have walked away, but our family tries to help others. A fish was no exception. I looked around for the biggest stick I could find; it was too short to reach. The water was murky, although not too deep. While the day was a lovely temperature, the water itself was cold. However, compassion isn’t always convenient. Sometimes we have to make an effort.

I handed my 11 month old to her older siblings, took off my sling, and stripped off my socks and shoes. I rolled my jeans up as far as I could, hoping that we wouldn’t be leaving the park with me soaked in muddy lake water. Then I waded in. The cold mud oozed between my toes and over my feet, although I couldn’t see them for the murky water. I finally was close enough to reach the net with my stick, as I noticed small bits of blood escaping from the fish.

Snagging the net with the stick, I pulled it, along with the fish, back to shore. I wasn’t hopeful that I could save the fish, but I had to try. Back on the soft mud of the bank, I crouched before the water, working to rip the net apart to free the fish, my audience on pins and needles as they watched to see whether their mother would indeed rescue the poor fish.

Once freed, I hoped that the fish, despite its injuries, would swim away, happy for another chance at life. However, it’s gasping continued and, no longer anchored by the net, its body floated upside down, blood ocassionally seeping from the damaged gills. There was only one more thing I could do to help: end its life quickly and painlessly. I loathed the idea of doing it. I wasn’t certain how exactly I was to kill this fish with what I had available in such a manner as to ease its suffering rather than increase it.

Looking up toward the park proper, I noticed another family looking out towards the lake. I put the sling back on with my youngest in it, grabbed by socks and shoes in one hand and helped my other children up the embankment with the other, and headed toward them. I explained the situation and the father nodded, asked where it was, and headed down to help out.

Compassion isn’t always convenient. Sometimes we have to reach out a hand or go out of our way to help someone. While not always convenient, compassion is also not a convenience. It’s a necessity. If we have no compassion for others, we cannot fully connect with them. Compassion is a necessity, whether in regard to a friend, a stranger, our spouse, or a tired three year old.

modeling compassion…

Empathy allows us to listen to our children without changing their feelings. We can listen and acknowledge their feelings and thoughts regardless of whether or not we agree with them. Through this, we model compassion. Through our compassion, we open ourselves to communication and cooperation.