A couple of weeks ago, I posted a status on Facebook laced with more than a little desperation:

20 January
Strategies for dealing with constant whining in a very very young 9 year old? I can’t deal with the root cause for reasons outside my control, but I need fire fighting methods please 🙂
How I wish I could easily put a little blue box around all that… anal retentiveness is not easily abandoned!!!
Anyhoo…  a plethora of responses followed, all understanding, a few typical of caring folk who do not live the special needs life others do, and some helpful ideas.
I took one of those ideas on board in particular: to allow my darling Little Man 10 minutes of whining time a day.  This he embraced with his usual enthusiasm and zest for life, and my! what quality of whining there was!
Funny thing though…  A few days later, when I told him it was time for his whining time, he asked to save it for later, then forgot!  A week on, the whining is almost non-existent (well, it’s there, but at normal levels!!).
so… enforced whining time, with a reassuring, encouraging mother to really listen to the whining ten minutes a day.
But the other strategy I’ve used seems to have been the real gem (so far… I’m not expecting it to be a miracle, I’m too experienced in that particular path).
I have made a little chart for each of the children to fill in.  I encourage them to chart their emotions throughout the day.  And Little Man has taken this on board, together with his assistant at school to astounding effect!
His first day was all over the place:
Emotions chart day 1

Emotions chart day 1

Success in maths - a proud moment!

Success in maths – a proud moment!

He’s a normal kid… gets angry too!

 

The beauty of this system lies in its simplicity: by charting his emotions throughout the day using just three smiley faces, 5 shades of colour and nine or ten emotion words, he is becoming emotionally self aware.  He is also seeing his success, and notices how often he is calm, or happy.  The rare moments of “proud” are celebrated for hours after the event.  And he is able to see visually how quickly he can overcome the moments of anger (which are still considerable in their intensity).

I can see it too, which makes it a good deal easier to remain calm and help him through those moments.

Sweet Girl is using the system… with less obvious success, but I have hope that in the long term it will be of great value to her.

Long may this island of peace last!

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