A few weeks ago, the Princess and I were enjoying a Sunday afternoon at the mall. That is, we were enjoying it until I got totally frustrated with her about her whining. It had gotten out of control. Whenever she didn’t get her way, she whined. Whenever I said we were going to do this or that, she whined. I HAD HAD IT!
My Princess has life pretty good. She doesn’t have to share with any siblings. We make sure she gets alone time with each parent individually, nurturing those individual relationships. We make sure we have family time weekly, nurturing the entire family unit’s relationship. We make sure we spend time on our marriage, ensuring that she knows we love each other and that we will always be together. We make sure she knows she is loved unconditionally and feels safe. And, she lacks for NOTHING. Absolutely NOTHING as far as material things.
So, when the whining had hit a crescendo, I felt like I was living with a spoiled rotten brat (who I had taken to the mall for an afternoon of fun for goodness sakes), and I was done with it. DONE WITH IT!
Upon the uttering of yet another whine from the Princess’s beautiful mouth, I turned on her and in a VERY FIRM voice, “The next time you whine you owe me a quarter. I’m sick of listening to it. Now you’re going to have to pay me for listening to it.” She looked at me rather stunned. And, we went about our day. In no less than 20 minutes, she uttered a whine. I looked at her, raised my eyebrows, and she proceeded to pull out her coin purse and give me a quarter. No fuss, no whining. She realized quite quickly that whining about paying me for whining was going to cost her another quarter.
I earned $2 that day. I earned $1.50 the next. I earned $.50 the next. That’s all it took. Three days. The whining was gone. Well, it still creeps in every once in awhile. And then, she has to go find me a quarter.
This isn’t the first time we’ve had to do a crack down on a behavior. And, I’m sure it won’t be the last. The key with the Princess is to find her current currency. In the past, it’s been book time or tv time or computer time. Right now, it’s actual currency. She does not like to part with her cash.
However, it’s not the actual paying me the money that made the whining stop. It’s the fact that we both stopped and recognized the behavior I wanted to go away. I had to point out when she was doing the whining. It’s all well and good to say “Stop Whining.” But, if I say, “You’re whining. Right now. You owe me a quarter,” she recognizes the behavior that needs to stop.
When she was younger and I wanted a behavior to stop, I would put five to ten pennies on the counter at the beginning of the day. Every time the behavior was exhibited, I would tell her to go bring me one of the pennies. It always only took a few days to stop the behavior. Now, I will qualify that I have a “people pleaser” child, and one who has quite the conscious. She doesn’t like to be in trouble.
The other key to the plan was that I had to be intentional. Me. The Mommy. I had to pay attention. Rather than getting frustrated and just fussing (which is close to whining isn’t it- hmmm) at her, I had to remember to ask for the quarter. EVERY TIME! I had to be on my best mommy game. I had to be consistent. Without consistency, it won’t work.
But it did work for me. Just asking for the quarter.
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