Dealing with whining children

Parentree-editors 2008-11-18 09:28:29

There it is again, a high pitched whine from your child about "Why can't I have orange juice at night time" or "Why does my sister not have to take a shower now" or "Why do I have to do all this work?". 

It seems to grate every bone in our body, as parents, and appears to be designed to increase our stress levels.  And unfortunately, kids of all ages, do it too. So how do we parents preserve our sanity in the face of whining?

Here are some tips on why children whine and what parents can do about it.

Why do children whine?

  • They maybe too young to express their emotions in words
  • They maybe tired or sleepy
  • They maybe bored
  • They maybe frustrated
  • They may want attention from their parents
  • They maybe afraid

What to do when younger kids whine?

  • Focus on stopping the whining
    • Reach out and get closer to your child or make physical contact first, so the child know he has your attention
    • Tell your child "Baby, I cannot understand you when you use that tone of voice. If you can explain it to me in a clearer tone, it will be easier for me to understand"
  • Remain patient - If you lose patience and start shouting back, the whining may turn into loud crying and your temper may get worse
  • Stop the whining by talking to the child. If you give in, the child learns that whining get her what she wants and will continue to do it.
  • Get your child to explain their problem in a normal tone. Be persistent in asking for this. When he does it, thank him for doing so.
  • Do not step in to assist with the problem until the child starts speaking in a normal tone.
  • Try to analyse why your child maybe whining
    • If it is because your child is tired, get them to take a nap or go to bed
    • If it is because of frustration, help your child overcome the obstacle. Coach them through it (for example, it maybe a toy that does not fit together or a homework assignment)
    • If it is due to fear (like going to a new school), give them the confidence they need and even help them through it as much as you can
  • Tell them at the end of the episode, that they could have got your attention better if they had used a normal tone of voice

What to do when older kids whine?

  • With older children, make it clear in firm language that whining is unacceptable.
  • Often older children whine about something given to them being inadequate, like a dress  or an allowance. Tell them "If you don't like it, I will take it back. It seems that you would rather not have it". Watch their reaction. Most will realize that they are better off with what is given rather than whining about what they don't have. Don't forget to carry through with the threat, if they do not stop the whining.
  • Then use similar techniques like you would with younger children - show empathy, have a conversation and help them solve their problem.

The way to combat whining is by not giving in to it and to remain patient and being firm when tackling it.  Good luck.


2008-11-19 23:09:32


One of the things i have realised is that if we reward bad behaviour, it becomes a bad habit..Then later we wonder how such a habit was formed!


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