Skip to main content

Sonoma Family Life Magazine

How Loud Are They Whining?

By Pam Moore

When parents think of the things we’re grateful for, our kids generally make the top of the list. That said, when your when you notice the “creative” way in which they’ve taken a ballpoint pen to the couch cushions… that river of gratitude suddenly dries right up. With Thanksgiving approaching, I thought it might be helpful to “reframe” the way we view our kids’ shenanigans:

Your kid is asking you for a snack. You tell her she’s going to have to wait a minute; you’re in the middle of something. She responds by telling you exactly what kind of snack she’d like. “I need Goldfish,” she informs you. She continues. “The cheddar kind. And they need to be in the purple ramekin.” You thought you had a five-year-old, not a rock star with a mile-long event rider. You look at her and say, “What would be a nicer way to ask?” with a syrupy-sweet voice. Matching your saccharine request, she complies, asking, “Can I please have cheddar Goldfish in the purple ramekin? And also I want more than my sister. Please.”

Be grateful for: Your child’s ability to know what she wants. This child will not need you to call her professor or landlord on her behalf 20 years from now.

You’re ready to leave the park. Your child is not. She’s creating a castle out of gravel using the shoe you specifically told her not to take off her foot. As you approach her, you notice the wild look in her eye. She is hungry. The smell of a meltdown is in the air. “Let’s go!” you say. “NOOOOO!” she says. You offer macaroni and cheese for lunch. She glances up for a fraction of a second then goes back to her task. In about seven minutes you will be carry-dragging her to the car with her shoe tucked awkwardly under your arm. Once she’s seated at the table with a pile of neon orange noodles in front of her, though, she will eat like it’s her last supper.

Be grateful for: Your kid’s ability to be fully present in each moment. She’s not checking her texts or her social media notifications. She’s really living, man.

“You should be ready for school in five minutes,” you announce. Your child says she is ready. She’s in a floral tank top, a tutu, and leopard print leggings. It is snowing. She has on non-matching socks and her sparkly Velcro sneakers. “But…” you stop before you complete the sentence because you don’t know how to say “You look homeless” nicely. “Sweetheart, it’s November. How about a long sleeve on top of that tank top?” is the best thing you can come up with. After all, she is fully dressed. She’s wearing sneakers on P.E. day. Her teeth are brushed. The bus is coming in 10 minutes. There’s no time for a visit from the fashion police. “Do you feel good in that outfit?” you ask. She nods, beaming.

Be grateful for: The fact that your kid thinks for herself. If she knows what the other kids are wearing, she clearly does not care.

There is always something to be grateful for if you look hard enough. As parents, it’s important to remember that how you view a situation depends on where you stand (and of course how loudly your kid is whining).

This article was originally published on Mazel Together.

Find Pam Moore’s free guide to crushing Impostor Syndrome at