Notes on Parenting

Insights for parenting babies, toddlers, teens, and young adults.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Some Tips to Help Stop the Whining

Lately I have wondered if it could be possible to die from overexposure to whining. When my two daughters start in with the whining, my jaw tightens, my head hurts, and I become extremely irritated in a big hurry. Sometimes when things get real bad, I may even start whining myself. You may have guessed it, but whining back to a whining child is not an effective coping strategy. So what can be done to nip this problem in the bud? I researched the answer and here's what I found:

  • Let your child know that you will not listen to their request until they can talk in their normal voice to you. Model how you would like them to speak.

  • Never give into whining, or your child will continue to use it because he will see it gets him what he wants.

  • Check in on your listening skills. Is your child whining because you are not listening until they whine? Your child may be asking politely the first couple of times and then may begin whining when she sees that she is not getting your attention.

  • If you feel that you have dealt with the whining in a positive manner, and your child continues to overuse it, take a look at changes in family routines or at how attentive you have been to your child lately. Your child may use whining when he is feeling a lack of connection with you. If you feel this may be the case, set aside some time where you can focus solely on your child.

  • If your older children are whining, tell them that you will not listen to whining, but you would be happy to read it if they write down what is bothering them.

  • Set up no-whine zones. Tell the children they may whine in their bedrooms if they would like to continue whining. For older children, you could even fine them when they whine in the no-whine zones.

  • Expect whining when you change a child's routine, keeping them up later than normal or spending a lot of time on the road. Set up expectations before you enter situations that are not part of the normal routine.

Hopefully these suggestions offer some guidance in this area because inevitably parents will deal with whining. As you do deal with whining, remember these tactics and remember that your child is not trying to be intentionally annoying; they are usually just trying to be heard.

Please share your comments on what has worked in your homes to stop the whining.

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