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How to Teach Your Child Not to Whine

Just as we, adults, find ourselves in a bad mood for no apparent reason, children are sometimes whiny and cranky even though their physical needs have been met. If your child is always whining, it is because she wants attention or wants her own way. One way to stop them doing this is to ignore them even if it seems impossible to do it. Your child will soon learn that asking nicely speaks louder than being whiny and cranky.

Just as we, adults, find ourselves in a bad mood for no apparent reason, children are sometimes whiny and cranky even though their physical needs have been met.  If your child is always whining, it is because she wants attention or wants her own way.  One way to stop them doing this is to ignore them even if it seems impossible to do it.  Your child will soon learn that asking nicely speaks louder than being whiny and cranky.

How to Prevent the Problem

Appreciate them for being pleasant.

When your child is being pleasant and not whining, let her know that you appreciate her that way and that you like being with her.  Your attention teaches her the importance of having a positive attitude.

Be sure to keep her needs met.

Before your child starts whining, make sure that she eats, bathes, sleeps, and gets plenty of hugs on a regular basis.  You as a parent should know because you, too, become cranky when you feel overtired or hungry.

How to Solve the Problem

Explain to your child what whining is.

Make sure your child knows exactly what you mean by whining.  Then explain to her how you’d like her to ask for something without whining.  Teach her how to say “May I please?”   You should also say “please” when you ask someone for something.   Remember, your child is taught best by examples.

If necessary, create a whining place.

A child may sometimes continue to whine even after you’ve taught her how to express her wants nicely.  Tell her that she has the rights to express her feelings and frustrations that only whining can relieveand that she can whine as much as she wants, but that she must do it in a certain place called the “whining place” that you have designated for whining. 

Ignore your child’s whining.

Because your child’s whining is so nerve-racking, you can easily pay more attention to her when she’s whining than when she’s quiet, even though that attention is not affection.  After you’ve put her in the whining place and given her the go ahead to get the frustration out of her system, put her on headphones or do something else to help yourself ignore the whining until it’s over.

Don’ts

Don’t give in to the whining.

If you give in to your child’s whining by getting upset of giving her what she wants, you are teaching her that whining is the way to get what she wants.

Don’t whine.

Adult complaining may sound like whining to a child.  If you’re doing it, your child may think it is okay for her to whine. Don’t get angry with your child because you’re angry with the world or frustrated with something.

Don’t punish your child for whining.

You may have heard some parents who tell their children “I’ll give you something to really whine about!”  If you make a statement like this, it only creates conflict between you and your child.  It tells her that it’s never okay to whine, which makes her feel guilty for having disgruntled feelings.  Allow whining with restrictions, because whining may be the only way your child can vent frustrations at the time.

Remember, this won’t last forever.

Your child may be having a bad day just as you sometimes do, or she may going through a period when nothing seems to please her, so she may spend more time whining until she gets back in sync with her world.  Remind yourself that this shall pass, while trying to lift her moods by praising her good behavior.

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Comments (8)

Those are some good tips on teaching your child not to whine. I used to sometimes whine back at them when they asked something in a whiney voice. Although the most effective way was to simply tell them to use a more pleasant tone of voice because I simply couldn't hear what they were trying to tell me. I am always amazed when I hear young adults and older teenagers still whining at their parents or using sharp tones in the way they talk to their parents and grandparents.

The concept of whining by a child has been dealt with superbly.Thanks.

good article

@Judith, lol, I agree that there are still lots of teenagers and young adults whining because they were used to doing that way and they've learned it from their parents. Thank you everyone!

Nice parenting.

As usual, great and nice work. Thanks Aileen

Great advice, thanks Aileen!

Great job. I always love parenting tips that remind us that children are not alien beings; they have moods too! Just as you say: we can get cranky and so can children. Of course, we all need to be polite anyway. Voted!

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