How to Whack Out Whining
Mommmyyyyyy…I want CANDDYYYYY—Let me stop you right there! We all deal with it, whether it’s from a 5-year-old or a 15-year-old. When they want your attention, it seems like they’ll get it by any means necessary. This includes whining. So how do we stop it? Search no further—the answer is here.
- Don’t whine back! It may seem tempting at first, but trust me when I say if you indulge, it will only hurt you in the long run. Children and even young adults mimic behaviors. So if they know that Mom or Dad does it, they’ll assume it’s okay and may even use it against you.
- Be clear. DO NOT, I repeat DO NOT give in to bad behavior. If you’re clear from the start of the whining that you will not tolerate it, the undesirable behavior seldom will happen. For small children, you may find it beneficial to acknowledge bad behaviors with examples like this: Mommy/Daddy will talk to you when the bad behavior (or whining) ends. For young adults, be straightforward: We can make __________ happen when ___________happens.
- Come to a conclusion that will make you both happy. Let’s say the last strawberry juice box is gone and it’s your child’s favorite. Grape is the only flavor left. The child begins to whine and you have to solve the issue. Use reasoning to do it. Ask him, “What should we do?” The child will likely respond, “Go to the store.” Because you’re probably not likely to make a midday store run, you could respond, “That’s a great idea. Let’s add strawberry juice boxes to the shopping list, so next time we’re out, we can grab them.” Once the child see’s that the issue is semi-resolved, he will more than likely let it go.
- Don’t give into whining! Stop it before it starts.State your case and stand by it. Let the small things go and the bigger issues stick! Fighting about sock choice may seem petty compared to healthy food choices, so pick your battles. The more you give into whining, the more the child will use it against you. Making sure you stop it before it starts is also extremely important. Don’t wait until the sixth Mommmmmyyyyyy to respond. Take a second to listen, respond to her and attack the whine before it starts. If you, by chance, happen to miss the message, ask her to repeat it. (She’ll be glad to.) Also be sure to reinforce her, let her know you’re listening and that you understand.
- Don’t get frustrated! Patience is key! There’s no perfect guide to parenting. Once you know that, it’s okay to lower your expectation or not set a bar too high. You still will be considered your children’s hero, and they will still love you. Every child is different and every technique isn’t foolproof. It’s okay to tweak here and there...We won't judge you!
Jessica Samuel is a native of St. Louis and current Kansas City resident, journalist, photographer, graduate student, ALLY.