If we made a list of the things children do that annoy their parents, we’d find whining at the top! It’s a behaviour that every child tries sooner or later. After parents understand the reasons behind whining, they can take appropriate action steps to reduce a child’s whining.
Why kids whine
Kids whine for a very simple reason, because it works. Children will not stop whining if parents continue to allow it. Do you answer your child’s requests when they whine? If so, you are telling them that whining is an acceptable way to communicate with you.
Some children lack the vocabulary to let us know what is frustrating them. When they are feeling out of control and overwhelmed whining tends to peak. Children also tend to build up emotions and then let them out in different ways. Whining can also mean that kids are uncomfortable or are feeling uneasy.
Kids often whine to get parents to take pity on them. Many kids learn that using strong emotions motivates their parent’s decisions. Do you often feel guilty when your children whine about certain issues? You may be buying into your own kids’ whining without realising it.
If your child is sleep deprived they can get very irritable. When they are in this state they find it difficult to communicate effectively and resort to whining. Parents usually underestimate the amount of sleep their child requires to function at their best.
Of course children also whine because they’ve figured out that this behaviour gets results.
Ways to stop the whining
Make sure that you’re listening to your child- they may have been trying to tell you things in a more appropriate way and you may not have really listened, so they whine to get your attention.
Never give your child what they ask for if they use that whiny voice, or you will be reinforcing the behaviour. Behaviours don’t stick around if they’re not rewarded.
Ask your child to repeat the request without whining. Use positives when they do say things differently and be patient, getting angry rarely helps and often makes things worse. It won’t get better overnight but you should see improvement as they learn other methods of asking for what they want.
Kids often behave unpredictably and whine when they’re hungry or tired. Feed them before you go, or pack some healthy snacks that they can eat on the way. Try and avoid dragging them with you on errands or shopping towards the end of a busy day when you are both cranky.
Establish no-whining rules. Tell your child what kind of behaviour you expect out of them. Good communication is especially important before you go to places that can cause a lot of whining. Before leaving the house, parents can discuss what behaviours they expect and establish rules while out in public.
Acknowledge good behaviour when it occurs. We cannot praise our children too much as long as it is genuine. Asking for something in a pleasant tone of voice is something that will serve your child forever. Do your part and teach your child not to whine for their sake and also for your own sanity.
Stand your ground. Consistency is the key. If you say you can’t understand the child, but then you comply with the whiny request you’re defeated. Keep repeating your wishes until the child speaks in a normal tone. You will only have to go over and over it the first few times. Once the child understands you’re serious, they will adjust. The younger you start the better.
Don’t get discouraged. Whining is learned behaviour. Learned behaviour can be unlearned. It takes at least a month to change any habit, so be patient with yourself and with your children while your work on these parenting tips to change whiny behaviour.
– Sharon Atkins