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Does your Child Whine?


Often, when children start whining, parents tend to either ignore them or give into them just to stop the whining. Neither is a very good option. When you give into your children's demands just to stop them from whining, you are sending out the subtle message that it is okay to whine, and by whining you can get what you want. In this manner you let your child's whining go unchecked, and their whining habits continue onto adulthood. We've all met adults who whine and are constantly complaining about something or the other. They are as far from being happy and content as you can get; never satisfied, and they believe that cribbing about a problem may actually make the problem go away. Of course, it doesn't, causing them to whine all the more.


Why do children whine?

When you are a child, not many things are within your control. You are often expected and made to do things against your wishes. You may be completely bored, but you still need to tag on with mommy until she finishes shopping for vegetables. You may be longing for dad's attention, but he's too busy reading the morning's newspaper to give it to you. Children virtually have no power, and have to ask for permission for everything from having an extra spoon of ice cream to removing their shoes.

Naturally children will need to vent their frustrations and express their unhappiness at decisions they are forced to abide by because they are powerless to do otherwise. When parents ignore a child's protests, these protests slowly fade into an annoying whine. Parents ignore the whining until it gets so loud and pronounced that they can take it no longer. They then snap or lose their temper at the kids, who shut up. The reason for whining is not addressed at all.

The minute your child starts to whine, ask him to stop immediately, and tell him that you will discuss the issue when he repeats the request in a regular tone of voice. Then when your child does so, address your child's problem with him, and explain why you can or cannot give in to his request at this particular time.

Parents or older siblings sometimes imitate their children in an exaggerated manner, hoping the child sees how ridiculous his whining seems and stops. This is not the best way to handle the situation as you are sending out mixed messages to your child at best, and humiliating your child at worst with the result that your child will be even more confused than before. Always clearly tell your child to stop whining if he wants to continue the conversation.

Some children tend to whine for no identifiable reason. You may be discussing a movie, and suddenly your child will pipe up in a whining tone that he too wants to watch the movie. When this happens make sure he understands that you will not respond unless he mends his tone. Make it clear that it is his tone of voice that is the problem, and not the request.


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