Written by Doctor G

Working Parent Hotspot: Transitioning Home after Work

Heard you today at Sears. Thanks for the prez-n-tation! My question: I have a 5 year old and a 3 1/2 year old. Of course the older always bewilders me more, cuz I have never had one….You sorta touched on this, but transition home is my hot spot, he pulls out all the tricks. Picks fights, whines, even though Im there 100%. I really do walk in a drop everything and my hubby makes dinner. I am actually very good at completely dropping work before I even get home. Is he just looking for me to fill the bank account? Is he looking for his level of “Ok, my Mom is here for me 100% for real, now I can chill out”. Thats my gut, but sometimes before I know it he is whining because the sky is blue and I’ve lost all sympathy for him, and I have become someone I hate, angry and intolerant. How do I work my way around the “kid trap?”. The I’m going to get a negative interaction out of you before you can create a positive one………..make sense????

Val in IL

Well, it sure makes sense to him! You are right, of course. He needs reaction from you, and the bigger, louder, more interesting the reaction, the better! Sure you’re paying attention to him already, but he has your attention 100% in his face if he is pushing your buttons.

Additionally, he is tired, he was “good” all day for teacher or babysitter or grandma. He’s kinda hungry, and has bedtime staring him in the face.

He’s not doing this with deliberation, Val. However, he doesn’t have to run this show.

You have such a great approach to after-work parenting. Don’t let him drain that out of you. He is not old enough for a big conversation about his “attitude” when you get home. So let’s tackle one behavior that is ruining the play time for you (and therefore for him, even if he doesn’t realize it), and fix that. Then, if there is another frustration, you’ll feel really empowered to take care of that one next.

It sounds like his whining is the thing that bugs you the most. Whining is crazy annoying! This weekend at dinner, mention that you are creating a “No Whining Rule” for the whole family. No whined requests will be honored. Anytime one of your kids whines, repeat back the request or sentence without whining.

Like this:
Him: “Mommy, but the skyyyyy is bluuueee!”
You: “Mommy, but the sky is blue.”
Him: “Mommy, the sky is bluuee.”
You: “Good try! Mommy, the sky is blue.”
Him: “Mommy, the sky is blue.”
You: “Great job!”

If all else fails, have him whisper it. Here’s a secret: It is impossible to whisper and whine at the same time.

If this doesn’t work for him, create a “Whining Zone” in the pantry or basement or garage or someplace small without toys that you don’t go often. Everywhere else in the house and the car there is no whining. Anyone who needs to whine can head to the whining zone. Put up a sign.

You can even make a game out of this, take him and his sister into the pantry and whine your heart out – you’ll all end up laughing.

P.S. I have a video here about getting kids to stop whining. Check it out and tell me what you think?

Let me know how this all goes! Anyone else have tricks and tips for managing the work to home transition?

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