A couple people have asked in the comments about the younger group of fussy hearts. Our little kids listen and hear bits and pieces of what we tell the big kids, but it is true that the subtleties of the spider or horse story are definitely lost on them. So we have a few other things that we have tried with them and have found success with. Since the twins just turned three we have both a boy and a girl in this range.

With Titus, we talk about a dragon. When he starts to fuss, I tell him that I think I can hear the fussy dragon. I tell him that he can kill it, or I will have to do it. We have read St. George and the Dragon with him a lot, so the whole knight and dragon thing works easily for him. He uses some of his very hot three-year-old ninja skills to kill the dragon, sound effects and all. If he gets it (as in completely abandoned the fussing), then I give him a high five and admire his skills. If he doesn’t get it, or doesn’t quickly “attack” it, then we go off together to get it through discipline.

With Chloe I often have her show me what a selfish, fussy lady looks like. This involves grabbing something imaginary and squeezing it up close to your chest while making a face that looks like a raisin. Then I ask her to show me what a Christian lady looks like : open hands, open heart, and an open face. This is pretty self explanatory, but I have her hold her hands out to the sides, and an open smile on her face, and take a deep breath. It is pretty much just a body language thing, but it makes sense to her, and helps quite a bit.

With both of them, we do a lot of re-dos. If someone walks into the room, and uses a big whiny voice to ask for pretzels, I will usually say (laughingly) “Oh my goodness! Did you hear that? That was not it!”  Then I send them out to come back in and try with the right voice. If I plan to deny the request when I send them back out, I give them a warning. “Go back out and try again with the right voice, okay? But when you do, I am going to say no, so make sure that you do the right thing.” This really clears things up a lot of the time. When they do it right, I give them a lot of admiration for it – hugs, or high fives, or whatever.

I will add that whining and fussing are things that can get you discipline in our house. I find that my own body language matters a lot with the little ones. When I am going to talk to them about it, I make sure to stop what I am doing, stand up, take them with me to another place, or somehow demonstrate that this could very easily be a discipline moment. Basically, I don’t want to be giving them a second chance because I want a second chance to not be interrupted.

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14 thoughts on “Raisinettes

  1. At our house (and in my kindergarten classroom) we call the re-dos “practicing”. “Go back and practice saying that in a way that would honor God”.

  2. My son (age 4) loves dragons and we don’t have any good books about them. (not sure how he found a love for them except the fact he is a boy!)

    I found a link to “St George and the Dragon” but I would really like to make sure it is the same book you are talking about. Could you post a link?

    Thanks again! Your advice is such a blessing.

  3. Thank you for taking the time to address this extra question. We are also treating fussing etc as a discipline issue, but some days it seems to be non-stop! The visualisation and re-dos are good advice, thanks.

  4. any secrets you have for dealing with sharing? we have had a lot of “this is mine”, “don’t touch that”, “it’s in my room” etc. our house has been no fun lately and my husband and I are sadly at a loss as to what to do, we need a discipline intervention!

  5. Thanks for applying the principle from Using the Reins to very young children. This strategy does not seem to address the issue behind the fussing, at least not every time. The opportunities for dealing with fussing come fast and quick in our home so it makes practical sense to me to not try to see behind (or help your child see behind) every whiny statement or question. Do you recommend this method because behaviour effects the heart?

  6. Miss 5 was just chasing Miss 8 through the house yelling,”I’m Mr. Sneaky Spider and I’m going to take away all of your happiness!”

  7. Sorry to all for the delinquent replies!
    Donne –
    I really think that at the little phase you are just working on vocabulary. If you continue the metaphor of the horse – we are still pointing at it and saying “horse”. We are working with our littlest kids to recognize just the basics – this is an emotion. You can control it. It is your job to control it. We work on this in a lot of places – if they get a bonk, we make them “blow it out”. No big hugs and kisses until after they have gotten a grip on it (of course I am not talking major injuries!) We make them control their expressions – “say that again with happy eyes, etc.”

    Leslie –
    That is the copy of St. George that we have here, and the one that I had as a child. Love it. I think we may actually need to do an entire post about the lessons from St. George, because the Fairie Queene has been a major influence in our children’s lives (and all the cousins)

    Carissa – I will try to do a post about the sharing issue soon

  8. I really appreciate your reply. Thank you. It helps me understand better what my clever husband has been doing intuitively – he chose for us to insist on kind language from our children with lots of re-dos and it has gone a long way in helping them to change their manner at the same time.

    God has used this series of posts to change my heart. I am more able to be kind to my children now that I’m reminding myself that they are not trying to offend me, and if there is any offence in their struggle to control their emotions, it is the Lord that they are offending first. It has helped me to be my children’s mentor rather than their sergeant major.

  9. Hi Rachel,
    I just wanted to let you know that I’m HREF=”http://www.mommy-md.com/2011/02/i-have-to-get-out-of-here-right-now.html”>blogging about your book today. Thanks!

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