It's been a while, but I have been trying a new technique with the kids, and I must say... I love it! It is the ENERGY DRAIN system, and it has been working like a charm. Here's the way it works: any time the child whines, screams, says no, doesn't follow instructions, etc. you say in a very happy voice (as you put your hand to your forehead) "uh oh, energy drain!" DD usually at this point screams "NO! I not ngy drain!" and I say, " When you do X, that really drains my energy, how do you suppose you could give me back the energy?" I have been doing this for a week, and so far, I have got a favorite dolly for the night, a car, a stuffed bear, the table cleared, dishes put away, and toys picked up. It has been great. See the key here is saying that they are to find something that would PUT energy back.
DS2 went to wash his face the other day, and instead of getting ONE washcloth out to wash, he chose to get 4 out! I said "oh buddy, ENERGY DRAIN." and he said "what, what? I not cryin"
I said "I know, but when you do that it cause sme to have to do MORE laundry, and if I'm doing more laundry, I'm using up energy that I could be using to do fun stuff like take to a friends to go swimming."
He said "oh yeah, I wanna go!" so then I said "Hmm.. how do you think you can put the energy back in, so I can do that?"
"I don't know- I won't do it ever ever again!" he said
"nope, sorry that's not going to work, would you like to here some suggestions?"
"Some kids would maybe tell their mom they won't do it again and hope that would work; some kids might do an extra chore like clean the sink..."
"Yeah, Yeah I'll do that!"
So he cleaned the bathroom sink, and even though it wasn't spotless, he did it, and he felt good about it!
The biggest key is that my DH is on board and we are doing it HAPPY! I can already see the kids changing in the whiny area, and it is becoming more peaceful!