Do your kids whine? Mine do, and I hate it. Whining sounds like nails on a chalkboard, repeated over and over again (‘I’m boooored, I want to go hooooome, I haaaaaate it here, let’s gooooooooo…..’) like a parenting version of Dante’s Inner Circle of Hell.
Sometimes kids whine because they’re tired and overstimulated. They don’t mean to drive us crazy, they’re just having a bad day. But when we keep giving in to whining, they realize they’ve got a powerful tool in their hands—and use it well. Here is a parent’s smartest defense against whining.
What NOT to do when your child whines
Don’t scream at your child, make fun of him by copying his whiny voice, or call him names like ‘stop being such a whiney brat!’ These types of reactions don’t work, because they simply make your child feel bad without teaching him how to behave better.
Talk about the ‘nice voice’ and the ‘whiny voice’
Tell your child that you want to know how he feels and care about what he wants to say, but that there are appropriate ways of expressing themselves. ‘When you whine, I can’t understand you. If you want me to listen and understand, you have to speak properly.’ Or, ‘Whining is not a good way to get what you want. The sound distracts me and keeps me from really listening to what you say. If you want to get my attention, talk in a speaking voice.’ Practice how to say things in a whiny voice and a speaking voice so that your child sees the difference.
Reading our article, how to help your child deal with frustration, will also help.
Stand your ground
Keep to your word and don’t give in when the kids start to whine. For example, ‘I can hear whining. I’ll talk to you when your voice is as calm as mine.’ Be sure to give your child your full attention once he stops whining.
Remember that it takes many weeks to break a habit and another set of weeks to reinforce a new one. So don’t give up or lose your temper if your child backslides. Just stay consistent, stick your speech, and eventually your child will get the idea.
Photo from crystalinks.com