Thursday, April 28, 2011


Parents don't love to hear a lot of complaints, especially if the kids complain so much they can legitimately be classified as Whiny Wonders.

But complaints from kids do indicate that they have enough self-esteem to believe they deserve better. Also that they're not afraid to speak their minds. And that they're not afraid of the people they're complaining to.

Annoying as this can be at times, it's normal. The Whiny Wonders may require tweaking, as in Time Out, a reality check or loss of some privilege. But you don't have to worry that they won't be able to make their way in this world.

The shelter has kids who complain, especially after they've spent a few days there.
But occasionally it has kids who demonstrate the effects of a mother who isn't allowed to complain. Or kids who have been punished for complaining. Or kids who know what happens when Mom complains and don't dare.

Here are a few examples of kids who make me feel sad:
Kids and teens who are excellent at keeping secrets but unable to express feelings or opinions appropriate to the situation.
Kids who withdraw or stand in place and cry at the sign of any conflict between other kids or adults in the shelter.
Babies who look distressed, but move little besides their eyes and make very little protest, even after a long period of waiting for Mom's care. (Note: this is most likely to happen when the family first arrives and mother is very depressed and anxious.) Other women and children often meet the child's needs when mother can't.
And what saddened me most: a 13-month-old baby whose brother faced her stroller to the wall during groups because she was asleep. Sometime during the next hour, she awoke but didn't make a single sound. Her brother said, "Leave her. She's all right."

Don't think only battered women are affected by domestic violence.
Be glad your kids bug you on a regular basis.
It indicates trust.

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