Parenting is turning out to be an endless repudiation of my pre-conceived notions about parenting. I had assumed that as my daughter became a better communicator and further developed her reasoning skills that the “tantrum” stage would be fairly short-lived. This turned out to be true.
Where I was wrong was in assuming that the worst was now over. Nobody ever talks about the even more terrible stage that comes next. The whining.
There seems to be very little that is not whine-worthy. Whether it be clothes not fitting particular dolls, her insistence on not liking jelly on bread ( really? ) or the news that she can’t go in the pool when it’s raining, Alaina had a lot to whine about today. I lost track of how many times I told her to “get over it.”
Here’s the nice thing though. She does. Almost every time there is something causing her distress, it doesn’t take much more than a redirection of attention and she’s on to the next thing. Chances are good that the new activity may at some point lead to whining, but at least she doesn’t dwell.
It’s an important quality to have. I don’t claim to have any secret formula for happiness, but I can say that the people I know that are the most good-natured and satisfied with their lives are also the people that seem to be able to move past their disappointments and annoyances the fastest. It makes it possible to return to work with a good attitude after a crappy day, is necessary to maintain interpersonal relationships, and could just possibly be the most important element in keeping a marriage together.
It seems to be a lesson the teenager is learning also. After a less than ideal end to her Prom Night, I fully expected at least a week of brooding, dirty looks, and under-the-breath comments. Like many, she has a bad habit of holding grudges and not being able to get past perceived injustices. I think it’s a big factor in why she had such a hard time finding success in her first year of high school.
To my pleasant surprise, that hasn’t been the case. if she hasn’t exactly been gregarious over the past few days, we are at least back to base-line moodiness and the things that she is mad at us about are new things. Whether it’s puppy love or a new found maturity causing this change in attitude I can’t say for certain, but anything that lowers the quantity of whining in the house is going to be appreciated.
Previously Published on Thirsty Daddy