Sometimes it seems like the only way to be heard is to complain. After all, how can we honestly expect our partners, family, and friends to know what we want or need if we do not complain about it? While voicing our concerns is encouraged, it's important we learn to raise any issue in a constructive manner and teach our children to do the same.
How to teach your child to stop complaining. 4 parenting tips.
1. Recognize and accept that there is a difference between a complaint and a request.
A complaint usually involves a person taking responsibility for their feelings but does not offer a solution (i.e. "I get so upset when you don't do the dishes."). If you notice, there's no request included in this, so this statement could be interpreted as blame for how you feel. After all, the only thing conveyed is how upset one's actions make you.
A request allows you to make your desires known without speaking negatively about a person or situation. (i.e. "Would you mind doing the dishes after dinner?"). Making a request like this allows room for negotiation. There're no feelings involved, and it really is just a request that allows both parties to communicate in a healthy, blameless way.
By choosing to make requests instead of complaints, you’re encouraging positive, blame-free communication within your home. As is the case with anything, it takes practice and commitment, so here are a few more things you can do to teach yourself and your family to not complain.
2. Practice gratitude.
Start by teaching your kids to say please and thank you. Then each day when they wake up create a routine to practice gratitude for what your family has. Write down what you are thankful for, meditate, or pray together to reinforce the importance of gratitude. By entering the day with a thankful heart, you'll likely not complain about small things.
3. Make requests or wishes a part of your routine.
It can be in the morning before school and work, or during dinner time. Ask your children if they have any requests, and take the time to negotiate accordingly. This ensures everyone is on the same page, and arguments are less likely to happen later.
4. Designate request jars for your household.
Using request jars allow requests to be made and addressed at an appropriate time. For example, you're headed out when you notice the trash hasn't been taken out. You can write the chore to take out the trash on a piece of paper, and place it in your loved one's request jar. This allows them check the jar when they get home, and ask questions or negotiate afterward. Like the idea but need something a little less low-tech? Utilize Wishfinity Rewards!