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Child Whiners: How Parents Stop the Whining

By Jean Tracy, MSS

Whining grates on nerves. It infuriates parents. And it works. In this article, you will recognize the wailing and crying, what to avoid saying, and the 7 best parenting solutions to stop the whining. A special character building poem for kids, “Winnie the Whiner”, is included.

The Body Language of Whiners:

Lips turned down
Drooping eyes
Pouting mouth
Dragging feet
Floppy arms

These are a few annoying behaviors you may notice when your child groans and moans. Don't be surprised if they inflame anger in you. You're human. Later, we'll look at better ways to respond than with feelings of rage, shouting, or lectures.

The Sounds of Moaning and Groaning:

Complaining in shrill tones
Whimpering from quiet to loud
Crying with stops and starts
Begging with, “Please, please, please”
Wailing long and slow, “Momieeee!”

Your child doesn't have to use every attention-getting behavior for you to recognize whining. One groan is enough to get under your skin and exasperate you. Does your youngster complain with any of the examples below? See if you can match the words to the sounds already described.

5 Typical Things Whiners Say:

1. “You never let me do anything.”
2. “I'm too tired.” (when you ask her to do chores or homework)
3. “I don't want to.”
4. “But I want it now.”
5. “Do I have to?”

These are common whines. There are many more. If your child whines about everything, there's hope. You can stop the whining. First let's examine what doesn't work.

Parenting Behaviors that Increase the Complaining:

1. Yelling, “Stop whining!”
2. Shouting, “You're driving me nuts!”
3. Screaming, “Quit it or else!”
4. Mimicking the child's cries.
5. Giving the child what she wants.

The first four may stop the complaints some of the time but, you can be sure, the bellyaching will be repeated because it works. If your child wants your attention, he just got it even though it was negative attention. No attention is what he doesn't want.

If you give in and give him what he wants, you may get some temporary peace. But because he got what he wanted, he's learned that whining is a great way to win. He'll repeat it again and again. You don't have to let this happen.

7 Helpful Ways to Stop the Whining:

No matter how old your kids are, you can boost their development with these parenting strategies:

1. Take the time to chat with your child when she's in a good mood. Talk about the whining. Be sure to listen well. Here are some questions you might ask her to get the conversation started.

Do you have any friends who whine?
How does their whining sound to you?
What advice would you give a whiner

Questions like these encourage your child to think and to talk. And getting your child to think and talk is the first step in building character. Why? Because you'll find out what your child truly thinks and that helps you guide her thoughts and feelings to a higher level.

2. Role-play the griping when your child isn't whimpering. Then teach her how to ask for what she wants in a pleasant voice. Role-play both the negative and positive examples below.

Negative: “You never let me do anything,”
Positive: “Mother, may I watch TV after my homework?”

Negative: “I'm too tired.”
Positive: “Mom, may I relax and eat a snack before I sweep the driveway?”

Negative: “I don't want to.”
Positive: “Dad, can I do a different chore like take out the garbage?”

Create role-plays that fit your situation best. It's even better when the words, tone, and volume for role-playing come from your child. You might trade the parent and child roles too. Have fun with it.

3. When your youngster is groaning say, “FREEZE!” (He is to stop in his tracks like a piece of sculpture.) You count slowly to 10. Then say, “Please say what you want in a pleasant voice.”

4. Name the behavior. Say, “That's whining. I will listen when you ask with respect.”

5. When your student is moaning, tell him to go to a mirror and look at himself. Say, “Please practice with your best asking voice. It will you get you what you want more often.”

6. Even if your child is respectful, you still don't have to give her what she wants. You might say, “I'm not willing to give you that but I am willing to play a board game with you after the dinner dishes are done.”

7. When your child speaks pleasantly, give him a compliment. “Thank you for saying that with a polite voice.” This may increase his more agreeable tones.

Please share this character building poem with your kids about whining. Younger children may want to draw a picture of Winnie or create a mini play about her behavior.

Winnie the Whiner

Winnie the Whiner loved to whine.
Her grunts and groans were not divine.
“Please, please, please,” she cried with drama.
“Stop your whining!” yelled her papa.

With lips turned down and drooping eyes,
Winnie had a frown that could kill flies.
“You never give me anything.”
Her dad felt guilty. He gave in.

Winnie won with wailing howls.
Then she saw her ugly jowls.
The mirror showed her pouting face,
‘Oh! No!' she thought, ‘It's a disgrace!'

“To stop the whining I must chill.”
She thought and thought with all her will.
Then took the pouting off her face,
And put a smile in its place.

These parenting techniques may need to be repeated often especially if the whining has become a habit. It's worth your efforts because you'll be improving your child's character development and your home may be a more peaceful place.


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