Stop Whining and Suck it Up! by Kristi Saul Post

Stop Whining and Suck it Up!

As my little one woke me early this morning, before the sun rise, I stumbled to the kitchen, made coffee, and her favorite breakfast of the week.  I felt an initial annoyance as she repeatedly requested “eggs and pancakes” (frozen pancakes of course, as I am not the lover of mornings that she is.  I struggle just to survive the first hour)  So, she repeated her desire, “eggs and pancakes, eggs and pancakes”.  I feel my stress rise, as internally I hear this repeated request, as a demand for me to move faster and meet her desire.  I look around the corner to see her in the living room, Barbie’s in hand, as they dance and sing, “eggs and pancakes.”  Now I have a new understanding.  Her chants were not taunts targeted at me.  She was not one bit invested in my feeling like a morning failure, she was just excited and sharing her love for the morning and her love of eggs and pancakes in song and dance.  I took a deep breath and gave silent thanks for having a child who wakes with joy and happiness.  I also gave silent thanks for the teaching of love and understanding I have been exposed to in the past five years.  It has been this exposure that gave me the invitation to look around the corner and to check out my perception, and to perceive my little one as simply experiencing the joy of the morning.  If not for this exposure, I would have likely experienced the entire situation as a personal attack, all related to my own fear of not being good enough, of not measuring up.

After having breakfast, I went out in the still dark and freezing morning to get the paper.  I had the privilege of ease dropping on the morning experience of my neighbors getting their child to school.  I don’t know them well, but what I know is that the husband is in the Air force and was deployed for several months this past summer.  So, this morning still dark and freezing him and his wife load their son for school (he is about 4 years old). I hear the son complaining, and the father quickly says, “No whining, it’s not acceptable.”  Then he goes to the child’s door, opens it, and leans in for a brief discourse about expected behavior of the day.  He leans out a bit to say, “Look in my eyes,” “I said look in my eyes, I expect you to behave like a big boy.  I expect you to act right.”

Wow, I thought, what an overwhelming morning experience.  I have no doubt that what the father really meant was, “Son, I love you, but I am stressed out, cold, tired, and late for work. I just don’t have emotional space this morning to support you through this.”  The reality is that in our traditional perspective of parenting we have not been trained with this language.  We have been trained to say “stop whining”, “suck it up.”  I am not sure if it is more that we have been taught that as parents we are entitled to take our stress out on our children, and in that be disconnected from their experience; or if it is more that we have been taught that it is our duty as parents to make our children tough and calloused to the experience of the harsh world, and to help them disconnect from their own feelings so that they can survive the challenges of the world.

As I thought of these two experiences all with in the first hour of my morning, I realized that as we strive to understand perfect love, all we have to do is look at our children.    Think of all the times we take our stress out on our children, tell them in so few words, “stop whining,” “suck it up” and they silently go about life some how managing to put their hurt feelings aside and love us in spite of our stress and overwhelm.  Some how in spite of our own constricted demonstration of love, they are able to experience us as loving.

As I write this I know that there are many of you who have children who have extreme social and emotional issues.  That their behavior terrifies you at times. I have had brief experiences with children who struggle at this level and have felt the terror, and acted in ways that I regretted, and apologized for.  You have been charged with a task of personal growth that is tremendous.  You have been charged with understanding your own stress and your own triggers at a level and a frequency that is really difficult for me to comprehend.  I can only guess how exhausting it can be to move from a place of casual self awareness, to be asked to be always mindful, always aware, and to eventually move to a place where these things become the natural state of being.  To move from the traditional place of blaming your child for your feelings, to a place of understanding the fear that you hold, and to see the fear of your child in it’s most real and raw space.  I can only imagine how exhausting it must be to strive to have your child feel safe, to experience their connection in a moment, then to feel that it is all lost when your child experiences something as being extremely stressful and overwhelming, and to look around with great confusion as to what the trigger may have been.  I offer you my loving support in your journey, and my prayers for your grace and love.  In this moment I offer you a space of love that I hope you and sit in, be with, for just a moment.  I hope for you that you can experience that moment daily.  I hope for us all that those moments can grow and grow until they become the whole.

Always Choose Love,

B.

Have you read Bryan Post's FREE e-Book How to End Lying Now: Why Kids Lie and What You Can Do to Stop It?

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Comments

  1. Help. I’m shooting this into the dark with a prayer. My adopted daughter experienced horrible, multiple traumas. We have 6 children. She came to us at age 6, five years ago. She has always acted out sexually. It has been so difficult, but now I feel as though I’m drowning. She targets my husband and our sons, and anyone else who comes near. What can I do?

    • I suggest The Great Behavior Breakdown book which goes into sexual acting out, for some specific understanding. Also, view the FREE From Fear to Love video on our site. It will give you a basic foundation for how best to work with and not against your child.

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