How do you stop whining in an 8 year old? No, this isn’t one of those posts where I pose a question and then proceed to answer it, I wish! Instead this is one of those to give you a peek and remind you that you’re not alone. We literally walk in our front door and the whining starts. I try hard to be cheerful and transition the kids into something fun: “hey guys, once we get inside let’s get our snack out!” Except then we walk in the door and shoes get kicked off, coats dropped. “Buddy, where do your shoes go? Missy, your coat.” “NO!” and “ugh… moommmmmyyyy… this is the worst day ever now! Why do you always tell me what to do? You never let me do what I want to do!”
Seriously. It’s crept in and what to do about it now?
Then there’s the daily whining about wanting a playdate. I’m so torn about this. Missy gets along with people really well. She seems like the kind of kid who’d make friends easily. But it often doesn’t really get past the superficial stages, so for the past few years I’ve worked to support her as she’s forged friendships. She’s finally in a place where she’s found a few friends with whom she can just hang out, nice kids, kids whose company I can also enjoy, kids who are a good influence on her (have I blogged about the time the 8 year old lied to me? Bold-faced lying! I think I have not, but it happened). One thing we try to do is to have her get together with those girls. But, well, we also like having her at home, when she’s not whining, that is. She’s a fun kid, I enjoy her company and her view of the world, and her siblings miss her when she’s not around. But she seems to want nothing to do with us, oh except for when it’s 8pm and she’s supposed to be in bed, then she suddenly wants to talk my ears off. We try to make sure she’s got a couple of playdates a week, but I also try to have her be at home for significant stretches of time. Those times would be more fun if she didn’t spend them screaming at me and whining though!
I’m not sure whether this is normal tween behavior, or related her trauma history, or to the ongoing adoption stuff. I also don’t know how to deal with it very well, other than to just hold fast onto my intuition of when it’s time for her to spend time at home, and when it’s fine to go off with friends. The words “this conversation is now over” crossed my lips more than once today. My therapist suggested “alright, I’m done playing make-a-deal now, let’s do something else” as a more playful alternative. I’m not sure that it’s direct enough for Missy, but will try it out tomorrow, provided I remember!