I had had enough.
I was undone. Unglued.
If my children complained one more time in the next five minutes they were all going to bed.
Straight to bed.
No dessert. No shower. Not even any teeth brushing.
Mama was fed up.
Have you ever gotten to that point with your children? With some behavior or habit they’ve picked up?
Maybe it’s their fighting, bickering, back talk, lack of eating dinner skills or leaving their things everywhere.
There are some behaviors that require a lot of discipline with some training to teach our children how to act and what not to do.
But there are others that are so persistent that you cannot discipline every 5 minutes but end up requiring more training. Especially when said behavior is such a bad habit.
Like complaining. My kids had gotten to the point that they would complain every 5 minutes. One child is more prone to be negative and the other two just follow his lead. It was a quick, out of control downward spiral. I couldn’t keep sending my kids to the bathroom every 5 seconds and between the three of them I would never come out of the bathroom.
With all the discipline there was no training going on.
Then I was complaining about all of their complaining.
It wasn’t pretty.
It was out of control and I felt out of control.
So I knew something drastic needed to happen.
We all needed visual reminders to quit the complaining.
They needed to be trained on how not to complain.
But we can’t leave out the discipline. Because that is an important role in child training.
So here’s what I came up with!
The No-Complaining Game!
Everyone, including myself, starts each day with 5 clothespins attached to their clothes.
Every time someone hears someone else complain they get to steal a clothespin.
At the end of the game whoever had the most clothespin got to pick a reward from our reward bucket.
If you got to the end of the day with no clothespins you were disciplined for too much complaining.
The goal was to not only keep your clothespins but to also become more aware of what complaining looks like.
After about a week of this game, the kids caught on and were really into it. Before I knew it all 3 kids were earning a reward at the end of the day for having a 3-way tie!
That my friend is amazing!
I got asked about the clothespins constantly while out and about and everyone loved the idea and said they couldn’t wait to share or get started in their home.
This game truly did curb the complaining going on in our home. Eventually, I weaned them off it and didn’t see an increase in complaining. But after a few months, I am starting to see it springing back up, so it’s back to the clothespins for us.
Because mama can’t handle that nonsense!
Don’t let yourself get undone.
Don’t get so close to edge that you feel like things can’t be saved.
You can curb all the complaining going on in your home. Hey, you could probably try it for some of the other behaviors going on. Visual reminders are key in retraining our minds and habits.
Your turn! Are you ready to curb the complaining going on in your home? Have you tried other methods? What has worked for you? Let’s chat in the comments below! I’m eager to hear!
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