A few weeks ago, my husband, myself and our four children (who range in age from 10 to 15) visited Colonial Williamsburg for the day. My two teenagers expressed their disinterest in going, but beyond that, resigned themselves to the trip. One of my tweens was very verbal about his dissatisfaction with our visit, complaining about waiting for our tickets, having to go to begin with, etc. Generally behaving like a brat.
Being an old hand at this parenting thing, I simply told the tween he’d better stop grumbling on the outside or face consequences he wouldn’t like. And knowing me as well as he does, the child in question stopped grumbling out loud.
Within 10 minutes, that child had gone from grumpy resignation to enthusiastic embracing of our trip, excitedly telling us what he’d like to see. By the end of the day, everyone had a good time, and everyone enjoyed the visit, already making plans for what we’d do when we returned this month for another day.In this week’s video blog, I talk about why it’s important to not put too much stock into a child’s bad attitude about an upcoming trip, a visit to grandma’s, or anything else of that nature. Kids like to grumble and when we focus on the grumbling rather than on helping them to stop their outward bad attitude, that gives them the freedom to change their attitude without any blowback from us. And for the record, I didn’t say “I told you this would be fun!” to my kids. I simply let them enjoy themselves without additional commentary from mom.
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