“Noooooooooooooo-uuh, I want that one!” “Mommyyy…..uuhhh I want that…… Mommyyyyy……… uuuuuuhhhhh…..”
You can’t stand hearing your kid whine, so you tell him to stop— but he doesn’t. So now what? You would really like him to stop following you around the house, so you give in to his demands. Immediately your kid returns to happy-loving-huggy mode, peace and contentment descend upon the house, and all is well.
All is well, that is, untill the next time your kid wants something. Because you’ve just taught your kid that whining works.
Obviously, whining is irritating, annoying and insanity inducing— but that’s not the reason your kid is doing so. Your kid is winning because whining is one of the most potent tool he has in his arsenal. He’s whining because he feels things strongly, and he likes to express those feelings loudly, repeatedly and determinedly to whoever appears to be in charge of the situation. especially if that person happens to be you. And — most of all— he is whining because he wants something, and because you’ve taught him that whining is the way to get it.
Whenever you kid whines you be like—
“I’m not going to listen to you whine,” (while continuing to listen to him whine)
Told your kid “NO,” Then relented after he started whining
Told your kid “NO” held fast to that NO when he started whining, then relented after ten minutes of further whining. Then you’re like— “ Fine! Here’s the chocolate. Now please stop whining ,”
So yeah, whining is working out quite well for your kid. And he’s certainly not going to change the behavior just because it’s rude or bothersome or bratty.
In fact, there’s really just one way to change your kid’s whiny behavior: change your own.
Rather than reacting to you kid’s whining in the moment, and making your immediate and only goal ending the whine, please accept this unfortunate but important truth: you cannot force your kid to stop whining. All you can do is guide your kid to realize that whining is ineffective. As soon as this realization sinks in — wow!—the whining stops.
Sounds great, doesn’t it? And it’s not even that hard! The hardest part is the first step— but, once taken You win the half battle. This first step is immunizing yourself against your kid’s whining.
Imagine yourself on an airplane. Five rows behind you a kid starts loudly whining. How do you feel? You don’t feel responsible for kid’s distress. You feel sometimes kids whine, and that’s irritating. And then you try to ignore it and get back to your life.
Okay Now I want you to imagine that that whining kid is your own and to react in the same way—with a certain level of concern, sure, but without the accompanying flood of “my-kid-is-unhappy—and-it’s-my-fault-and-I-have-to-make-it-better” guilt or the “this-whining-makes-me-crazy-but-I-need-to-interact-with-my-child-smilingly-and-positively-at-all-times” panic.
Because a kid’s whining doesn’t mean he has a Neglectful Parent or that he requires patient attendance to his moaning and groaning. And as soon as you accept that fundamental truth, you will be immunized against the power of your kid’s whining —and much, much closer to ending it.
Next time your kid starts whining, take deep breathe and remember your immunization— your little whiner isn’t bringing charges against you at Court; He just wants something and is choosing to raise a fuss. With a calm and unflappable face put the situation in words: “ I hear you want to watch a video, but the answer is No,” “I know you’d like an ice pop, but we’re not having ice pops now.”
If he continue to whine, react quickly (delaying your response just teaches him to keep up the whining to get your attention) and tell him, You’re using your whining voice, but I’m all finished listening to that voice. If you want to whine more, you can whine in your room.”
It is easy to say this, but following through is what’s important. Don’t parrot these words, then let your still-whining kid stalk you throughout the house; tell him firmly but gently, “I’ll be ready to listen as soon as you’re ready to use your nice voice.” You will not damage your kid in some terrible way by refusing to listen to him whine, nor is it a bad thing for your overwrought kid to discover that he’s no longer allowed to inflict his crankiness on the entire household.
This plan will not end the whining immediately but it will make whining significantly less attractive to your child, and he will soon realize that whining is so last year and adjust his behavior accordingly. But untill this awesome day arrives, please keep yourself immunized and standing strong. Beware! One slip (Fine! Here is the chocolate. Now stop whining”) will require you to start All.Over.Again.