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What to do about whining?

Author GreatDad Writers
Submitted 18-01-2007


  • Define it: Before you pin on your No Whining button and draw a line in the sand, make sure your child understands what you’re talking about. Most children recognize whining, but check to see if your children knows which is their whiny voice. Label whining when you hear it, and ask your children to use their regular voice instead.
  • Acknowledge your children’s need for attention: You don’t want to encourage your children to “need” you every time you strike up a conversation with someone, so make sure you explain this to them: “If it’s really important, politely interrupt me, without whining, and I won’t put you off. But if you can wait, then please do!” If you’re in the middle of something, take a second to acknowledge their need, give them a ballpark estimate for when you’ll respond (“Honey, I know you need help with your homework; let me finish up these dishes and I’ll be there in five minutes”), and follow through.
  • Show your kids a better way to address the problem: Sometimes kids whine because they can’t quite express their feelings, so help your children identify them when you can.
  • Avoid triggers: Kids often get cranky and whiny when they’re hungry or tired. Life will be easier for both of you if you can avoid dragging your kids on errands — or even to the ballpark, for that matter — at the end of a long day.
  • Be — or at least pretend to be — nonchalant when the whining goes into overdrive: Your children should know by now that whining — even in public — will get them nowhere, but in case they missed that lesson, now’s the time to teach them. No matter where you are, whom you’re with, or what kind of tone your child uses, keep your cool. Don’t blow up or give in.