Often, I find myself listening to little people in the midst of fussing about life’s many trials. They complain about having to make their beds, brush their teeth, clean their bathroom, and help with household chores. There are days I wish I had a magic button to push which would allow me to turn the complaining off. Then, the Lord shared something with me.
As often as my kids are complaining, I’m complaining about their complaining. If I would like my children to stop grumbling, I need to first set the example myself. But, how do I do this?
Prayer – Above all, I need to be in prayer. I should also be praying over my children’s hearts and teaching them to pray on their own. With the Lord’s help, we can beat the habit of whining and have a peaceful home.
Gratefulness – At the heart of our grumbling is a lack of thanksgiving. We are no longer praising the Lord for His goodness and instead choosing to focus on our flesh. When I choose to stop looking for the good, and instead allow difficulties to cloud my vision, an ungrateful heart root begins to grow.
Refocusing – It helps when we ask the Lord to remind us of all the blessings He has so willing bestowed on us. I am able to make my bed, because He has given me one; furthermore, the home in which the bed resides! In this particular circumstance, I am able to fuss over my children because He has blessed me with the gift of children.
Removing – If a complaint is still on the tip of my tongue, it might be time to step back from the situation. A complete change of scene, even for minutes, might be just what I need to reset my thinking. Sometimes this comes in the form of a restroom break, other times I close the door to my room and just breathe. No matter how I choose to manifest the break, removing myself from an atmosphere of negativity helps.
Silence – If at first you don’t succeed, try silence! If the complaining gets too out of hand, when having a moment to myself isn’t helping, or when things have escalated to a fever pitch… it’s time to play the quiet game. Everyone gets a corner. No one is allowed to talk until the timer goes off. Not even mom. Sometimes we play soothing music to help. Sometimes we simply enjoy the silence. During these moments of quiet I’m usually praying hard, asking the Lord to completely change the mood of our home to please Him.
Complaints are like a virus. Without us even noticing, the little things start sneaking into our home. It starts with an unhappy face, and before we know it words are pouring out of our ungrateful mouths. We grumble, complain, and argue when we ought to be cultivating a heart of thanksgiving.
Instead of complaining about my children’s complaining, I need to be setting an example. I need to be praying more often about this issue, encouraging gratefulness in their hearts, and teaching them to refocus their thinking on Christ.
May we do all things, including parenting, without argument or complaint; and to God be the glory.
“Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain.”
Time to Chime In: Battling complaints while at home is one thing, but how do you manage complaining when you’re on the go and the kids just won’t stop fussing?