How to Respond to Whining and Model Behavior

I have heard people teach that the best way to encourage your child to read is for them to see you reading. I have heard the same concept about eating healthy, and being eager to learn or try new things, or being active… The list goes on and on. Children are very in tune to our actions and especially when they are younger they are going to mimic our behavior. It is safe to say that actions truly do speak louder than words and the best way to lead is by example.

The way you demonstrate self control and self regulation to your children will determine what they give back to you. 

OUCH! I have a hard time with this, especially when we are running late. Is it even humanly possible to be a positive example when we are running late?

As hard as it is, it is still an important reminder that no matter how much you try to train, teach, or bombard your child with these learning opportunities it isn’t going to amount to much unless it means something to you and you are living it out. One of my favorite quotes is from Naomi Wolf and it says

“A mother who radiates self-love and self-acceptance actually vaccinates her daughter against low self-esteem.”

I hear so many mother’s say they don’t want their daughters to be insecure like they are. So they lavish their little girls with compliments and then turn around and talk about their own bodies in a  way that is degrading. This method is INEFFECTIVE! You can’t just talk the talk honey, you have got to walk the walk.

My 2 year old is at the stage where he copies everything we say. EVERYTHING. It definitely makes us more aware of our words. My 4 year old, who is deaf, is more in tune to facial expressions so sometimes when I am trying to communicate with her it is like looking in a mirror. This video is from a  while ago, and I know I look ridiculous, but it shows what I am talking about.

How comfortable are you with your children mirroring your actions? All of this just continues with one of the main themes of Teachable Parenting, which is that we set the tone in our home by the kind of environment we create. One of my favorite techniques that I read from Love and Logic is “I will respond when your voice sounds like mine”. This is an extremely helpful line to use with screaming or whining. Not only does it defuse the situation by giving them simple instructions, but it’s always a reminder for me that Oh yeah, I have to watch my voice too! If I bark at them and scream “I said I would respond when your voice sounds like miiiiine!!!” Then that would defeat the purpose wouldn’t it? So it keeps me in check and it also reminds me that I am an example to them. This is also why I have a hard time saying don’t hit followed by a little swat on the diaper. I’ve done it, but the message seems conflicting.

Again, this is why it is so important to discipline with empathy and respect because you are showing your child how they deserve to be treated and how they should be interacting with others (remember the idea that you teach them what their inner voice sounds like). Teachable Parenting is about bringing a culture of honor into the homeThat doesn’t mean you are not in charge.

Modeling the ideal behavior is not going to happen over night, and we’ll never be perfect. For now I totally recommend trying that tip.

“I will be happy to respond when your voice sounds like mine.” It’s worth a try.


This post was originally written on October 13th, 2014 as a part of the 31 Day series Teachable Parenting.

By |2015-10-02T10:59:22+00:00October 2, 2015|Parenting Tips|2 Comments

10 Ways To Feel Loved and Adored By Your Spouse


(originally posted on November 11, 2013)

Imagine your husband brings home a rare painting in an ornate frame and he wants to hang it up in the living room, but you can’t find any nails, or hooks. So you try to put this heavy piece of art work on the wall with some double sided scotch tape. It is not going to work. Even if you put rolls and rolls of tape, it might stick for a moment, but then it is going to fall off and you’ll be in worse shape then when you started because there may be damage to the painting.

That’s how it is sometimes in marriage. Some women are made of rubber when it comes to receiving compliments and affection. We can blame our husbands all day long (and they probably deserve some of it), but like I tell my kids “you are responsible for yourself”.  There are a lot of husbands out there that are geniunly in love with their wives, but dare I say we aren’t feeling it.

I am not an expert on marriage in any way,  but my marriage and self confidence has seen a lot of ups and downs in the past 15 years! So if you have a moment, I would like to share some advice for how to start feeling the love.

1. Quit Dodging His Compliments

JoAnne Summers (a pastor’s wife in Dallas Texas) shared at a women’s conference years ago that when responding to compliments you should try saying “That’s a nice thing to say”. My mom and I have joked about this for YEARS and we can’t say it now without bursting into laughter, but it has stuck with us. The point is, just take the compliment. Obviously “thank you” works too. Just keep it simple. If you want to resist a compliment for example:

  • I like your hair- “Are you kidding, there is so much humidity today, it’s a disaster” or
  • That soup was tasty-  “well, I probably shouldn’t have put so much salt in it.”

Instead revert to these tried and true lines, “Thank you, that is really nice of you!” The end.

2. Be Quiet

Since my daughter received her cochlear implants I have had to have training in learning how to talk with her and encourage a response. Sometimes when teaching a young child or baby to speak we may repeatedly say “Mama… ma ma… say mama sweetie. Can you say ma ma?” All the while the child may be like, I would, but I don’t want to interrupt. I was told this is a common mistake for parents with special needs children. You want to encourage them so badly that you flood them with language and forget to pause. I’m talking about a really nice long pause that is adequate enough for them to process and digest, and then potentially speak. Similary, women often have a tendency to talk a lot more then men and so maybe the reason you feel like you aren’t hearing what you need is that you aren’t giving him the chance to say it.

3. Shoulder to Shoulder Contact 

A guy doesn’t like to feel cornered into being emotional. Fishing for compliments isn’t ideal either. One way of encouraging the opportunity to bring back that loving feeling is through shoulder to shoulder contact which is covered in the book “Love and Respect”. Women like to chat face to face, dudes are more into doing an activity (like golf or video games) side by side. When I heard this it really made sense for my relationship. Men are more likely to open up and share some of there feelings when they aren’t on the spot. So I encourage you (and I) to try some shoulder to shoulder quality time with our significant others.

3. Love Yourself

Maybe the lack of love and adoration you feel is really coming from yourself. I know as women we feel inclined to put our own needs at the bottom of the list and put all other duties and obligations first. The problem is that the list is so long that you never get to the part where you get rest and are nurtured. It’s time to show yourself some love and you may feel instantly more “adorable”.

4. Believe Him

When your husband tells you look nice, or that he is happy in your relationship, just believe him. Rule number one about accepting the compliment is just the first step. Kind of like fake it ’til you make. The next step is to receive and believe the compliment. Back to my analogy of the big painting representing your husband’s love, I just want you to get rid of the double sided tape. I don’t care if your husband comes home with a cheap little poster that he bought at Walmart. I want you to get a drill and bolt that sucker to the wall, ya hear?

5. Know the Truth

We all know how much the devil loves to beat us up, and even more so how he loves to tear down a godly union. When you start doubting yourself, or your husband, or marriage turn your focus on God’s truth. There is a long list of references and truth verses here available for free download.

6. Know Your Love Language

  I think everyone is familiar with The 5 Love Languages by now. It is a must read. If you can figure out what makes you feel loved then you and your husband can work at gearing your activities and exchanges toward that thing. Also know what his love language is, because bless his heart he is probably trying to tell you he loves you in his own language.  When you realize that, you can see just how much he has been loving you all along. All the little cleaning up he was doing that you felt was undermining your domestic role was really his way of loving you with an act of service (not that I would know anything about that).

7. Be Yourself

Sometimes even full grown married women find themselves so desperate for affection that they try to put on an act. It’s never as appealing as the real you. If you are funny be funny. If you’re quiet natured that’s cute. If you’re into sports cool, but if fashion is your thing, own it. Being yourself is adorable.

8. Don’t Be Deceived By Fictional Romance  

We watch The Bachelor or read Nicholas Sparks and think romance comes looking like a Ryan Gosling Hey Girl meme. It’s really just a bunch of gunk. Sometimes we have to pull the plug on these things if they are causing more harm than good. I have even had Christian romance novels that ended up making me feel like my marriage was inadequate. Don’t hold your husband up to these unrealistic standards.  You may find yourself feeling more love and admiration when you stop limiting romance to chocolate and roses.

9. Stop husband comparing!

So Billy Bob writes poems for his wife every week and posts them on Facebook. Whoop-de-doo! I have fallen into the husband comparison trap before because my husband is an introvert and I have compared him to the extraverts that just live for PDA. This made me feel like my quiet husband was ashamed of me. So the man that would stand on a roof top and declare love for his bride is better than the man that actually lives it out behind closed doors? No. This is only one way we compare. Yours may be different, but none of it’s good. So don’t do it!

10. Ignore This List
Okay, maybe you don’t have to completely ignore this list. But I don’t want it to be another set of rules for you to have to follow, especially with today’s abundance of advice available via social media. Reading too many online articles and self help books telling you how to have the perfect marriage can often end up being more pressure and stress than they’re worth. I hope that some of these tips might be helpful, and have connected with you as they have with me, but I also hope they aren’t preachy and weighty. Just have fun with your spouse and relax a bit. You’ll start to feel more genuine connection that way than you ever will following some formula.
At the end of the day just remember that no matter what, you really are adorable. I mean it!

By |2015-05-25T11:29:48+00:00May 24, 2015|Family, Marriage|18 Comments
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