The Complaint Jar

My kids argue just like other siblings do.  Our oldest is out on her own and she still argues with her siblings but the two we still have at home (ages 15 boy and 12 girl), they can go at it like no other.  This is actually a new scenario for me since there are 6 1/2 years between my oldest and the middle child.  The arguing I know is just normal stuff, but the constant complaining is about to send my hubby and I over the top!

My kids can go from building a Lego set together to full blown whiney, ass complainers so fast my head spins.

Lately the youngest who is a ‘waiting on her period to start, hormonal, emotional mess’ has been over the top with the complaints!  She complains about what I plan for dinner, if I change the dinner plan hoping to make her happy just once in awhile.  She complains about that too!  She isn’t happy about her hair or her nails got smudged.  Basically I can’t win.  She tattles on her brother and attempts to micromanage every freaking thing going on in this  house.  My reply is to shut her down right away and send her for some alone time till she can fix that attitude.

Now the boy he complains too, but not as obvious and forward as his younger sister.  He plays this, ‘oh poor me, nobody wants to do anything with me’ thing that NEVER works.  Bless his heart though, he keeps on trying.  Got to give him cred just for being consistent!

A couple of days ago the complaining was just too much to handle.  We called our oldest daughter and asked her to come and hang out at our house while we took off to check out the new Harley Davidson store and Costco.  (We just love browsing and shopping at the Harley store.  We even picked up a gift while we were there).  On the ride there hubby and I were discussing the fact that we really needed this alone time so we could rest our ears from all the complaints!   It seemed as if it was becoming constant and not just sometimes.

I mentioned reading a great blog about rules and for some reason all I could see was some sort of ‘Complaint Box’ where we would make it a rule that if you felt the need to complain, you must write the complaint out on a slip of paper and put it in the aforementioned box.

Being the amazingly sweet man he always is, he immediately told me I was a genius and I just may have stumbled on a resolution to this increasingly annoying problem.

We decided that at dinner that night when all were present, we would present our latest plan on the road to less bickering.  The kids were receptive and we kept the rules simple in order to give it a good initial tryout.

What happened next cracked me up!

The youngest excuses herself from the table to use the bathroom.  She returns but doesn’t go straight to her chair, but has to walk into the sunroom which is adjacent to our kitchen.  Claiming she had to get something.  They had been asking about what we would use to put the complaints in and looking around quick, eyeing a clean mason jar on the counter I said, “Hey we can use this jar, this will be the complaint jar from this day forward”.  We re-iterated the rules to follow and reminded them that there would be a consequence of some sort if they were caught complaining.  She quite deftly dropped the little pink post it that was folded in on itself so the sticky part made a sort of envelope, into the jar.

It wasn’t until later that evening as I got some sleepy time tea that I saw the one post it in the jar.

Now we hadn’t even decided on how often we would ‘address the complaints’, but it gave hubby and I a chuckle since we secretly placed bets on the way home from shopping.  We both won because we both knew who would be first to complain.  She is always the first.  But we love her dearly and we know a lot of it is just her age and trying to control her environment.  We just can’t let her know we know that.  Shhhh……Keep it to yourself.

Have you ever had to be creative to get your kids to follow rules or just to stop them from being annoying??


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