Ever thought about why the house always wins in Vegas and why people can spend countless hours in front of slot machines. The premise is that the machines are unpredictable and if you keep trying, you are bound to get lucky. It's just a matter of when.
So it goes with whining. If the child whines enough, or asks enough times, or promises to be good, maybe the parent will give in.
We've been practicing not being the house lately. It seems like every time the kids don't like the answer, they ask again and again and again. Or they try to negotiate.
I've been practicing holding firm.
I've even started threatening a worse fate if they continue to whine or argue. "You don't like sherbet for dessert? If you keep complaining, you'll get nothing?"
So far so good, but it's going to take time for them to know that we mean what we say and that our word is final. It makes me silent alot, or at least whispering to my husband before I lay down the law.
In the One Minute Manager by Ken Blanchard (I recommend this one Yertle), Blanchard talks of an experience with one of his sons. First it is important to explain the basic premise of the book and that is to be concise in your dealings and to delver criticism in a one minute package, absolutely focused on the recipient. Then it is also helpful to note that he is divorced and didn't have a heck of a lot of time with his sons. So, one day his youngest son acts up in the grocery store. Blanchard stops everything and begins to deliver his one minute of discipline. Yet his is greeted by a smiling face, all to pleased and eager to receive his one minute of undivided attention from his too busy dad.
Maybe that's part of it. Maybe my kids feel like they need to misbehave to get my attention?
Maybe I'll have to work on that too.