When your child whines all the time, it can be frustrating. If your kids are not listening or they cry about everything it makes parenting much harder.
There are things that you can do to help when your child whines. Whining usually comes from frustration, and soon, it becomes a habit. They whine one time and see results, so they try it again. Pretty soon, they whine all of the time.
Don’t worry, there are ways to discourage this behavior!
If Your Child Whines All The Time, Talk To Them About It
Talk to your child about what whining sounds like. As simple as that suggestion sounds, I can remember being a child, and not understanding what adults meant when they said, “stop whining.” I thought that I was just asking, even when they would say that I was whining. So, before you expect change, be sure to explain it to your child.
Be patient. Lawrence Cohen, author of Playful Parenting suggests, “When children whine they are feeling powerless. If we scold them for whining or refuse to listen to them we increase their feelings of powerlessness. If we give in so they will stop whining, we reward that powerlessness. But if we relaxedly, playfully, invite them to use a strong voice, we increase their sense of confidence and competence. And we find a bridge back to close connection.”
Show Them What Whining Sounds Like
Tape record your child whining and let them listen to what you have been hearing. Make sure that you explain that you are doing this so they can learn, and not to make them feel bad. Maybe even tape record your response to their whining, and review it, so they see you learning, too! There is always room for everyone to improve, even Mom and Dad!
On that note, don’t whine (yes, YOU.) Your children are watching you and listening to you. Everyone melts down at some point, but try not to do it in front of your kids. They will model your behavior… good or bad.
Don’t Give Up!
Stick with it. Changing behavior patterns takes time. A day of trying these tips won’t make a difference. A few days probably won’t, either. Be patient and consistent.
Do not let it get you worked up. You have to avoid the temptation to become frustrated, because they will pick up on it. This will just lead to more whining.
Show Them That Honey Attracts More Flies Than “Whine”
Say “When you can ask me in a regular voice, I’ll help you.” Try telling them that you can’t understand whining to encourage them to talk in a different voice.
If they are over 5 years old, charge them for whining. Every whine costs a penny or nickel. They put they money into a jar, so they can see how much they are whining. If they go a full day without whining, they get the money back.
Set ground rules when you are out. If they don’t whine, maybe they get a piece of gum or a sticker. If they do whine, even once, all bets are off.
If Your Child Whines, Try Positive Reinforcement to Break The Habit
Note if your child self-corrects. This is huge! They are recognizing behavior in need of a shift. Reward this! If they stop whining and ask for something politely, praise the nice voice. “I love when you talk in such a nice voice. It makes me so happy!”
Think about why they are whining. If it is more than normal, what do they need? Have you been extra busy? Has there been any sort of a life change recently? Would one on one time help? At the end of the day, all our kids want is our time and love.
Compliment your child for doing a great job of asking nicely, and reward him by saying YES a few more times during that day, just because he asked nicely. “Well, I would have said no to ice cream, because we had some last night, but since you asked so nicely, let’s go for it!”
Practice Proactive Parenting
Kids thrive on a schedule, especially younger kids, who might be more likely to whine. Before you get angry, check to make sure that their basic needs are met. Hunger and tiredness would make anyone whine!
With a little planning, you can stop them from whining before it starts. If your kids are talking to you, try to listen to what they have to say. If you ignore it, they will probably start whining. Frustration then leads to whining. Make sure they know that you are listening by stopping what you are doing and giving them your attention. Get down to their level, and make eye contact. This should stop the whining in its tracks.
Most of the time, when a child whines, it is a way of asking for something when they are frustrated. It is simply a low-grade form of crying. It usually happens during the preschool years and lasts until the age of 6 or 7. Don’t worry! It gets better, and it is just another opportunity for you to teach them important life skills, and how to cope when things don’t go their way.
Be Their Safe Harbor
Kids whine. They’ve probably been doing it since the days when Mom was too busy painting her diary entry on a cave wall, and Junior wanted his brontosaurus egg omelet, like yesterday, so a conniption ensued. Maybe that’s where the inspiration for Bam Bam came from…
Be patient. Be kind. Let them know they are safe with you, and that you love them, unconditionally. Especially when they are having a bad day. We all have them! This will only serve to strengthen your bond and their confidence as they learn how to communicate with the world around them.
It Takes A Village…
With the ideas above, you can hopefully stop the whining before it becomes a habit. Try to take the time to listen to your kids to stop the whining before it is a big problem. If you have more advice, we’d love for you to share it on our Facebook page. Parenting topics are always a hot topic and your ideas help other parents going through the same thing!