But I need it, pleeeese Mom, can I have it?

The fine art of whining.

While a friend of mine, when complaining describes her annoying complaining as a  ‘fine Italian wine’, most of us know that whining drives us nuts.  And yet all parents know that it seems to come with the territory. At some point our child will launch into that annoying voice and continue ad nauseum until we either give them what they want or go nuts. Is there another option? This is a question I get asked regularly, so I am going to deal with it now,

But first: Parenting Today would like to invite you to take advantage of a few upcoming trips. While I am in your community, let’s see what work we can do together to help the parents in your workplace or neighbourhood, or whether a professional development event is a perfect fit.

I’m going to be trying wines and golf in the Okanagan at the end of September so if you are looking for a speaker at that time, I will be in the neighbourhood.

I am pleased that some of you have decided to take advantage of my trip to Ottawa just before National Child Day, which is November 20, 2010. I still have some time around that trip, so if you are looking for a professional development event, Beyond Childcare program, or a speaker for your meeting or conference get in touch.

While I’m in Ontario, I will also have some time in the Toronto area. The schedule for this trip is still flexible so look at your calendar and see what might work for you.

I’ll be in Montreal in early December and would love to work with you then.

And, I’m working on a trip to Central Alberta in the spring. Stay tuned for more information.

And here it is, a common questions I hear from parents.

My three year-old whines constantly.  I’ve tried whining back at her and ignoring her but with no success.  Any ideas?

Why do children whine? The answer is simply because it works.  Whining, that high-pitched repetitive noise drives most of us to distraction and causes us to respond.

Whining is a typical behavior, particularly with three year-olds.  Some parents of threes report that their children seem to whine all day long!

That being said, simply hoping that they will out-grow it rarely works.  Just think of the adult you know who stills drives you crazy with her incessant whining!  So, while you can relax and know there is nothing wrong with your child, she’s typical, you still have to teach her that this in just not the way to communicate.

Children do most of their learning by watching rather than listening, so whining back at her just won’t work.  In fact, it’ll reinforce the behavior. We do it, so it must be okay. We also really have trouble ignoring it because the sound is so annoying that our body language sends a strong message even as we pretend not to hear.

Ask yourself if you whine.  At the end of a rough day do you immediately start whining about your boss, colleagues or clients?  If so, your child will never learn to stop until you model a more positive way to speak.

The most effective way to treat whining is to prevent it.  Make sure she’s getting enough sleep and meals and snacks at regular intervals. Kids do not handle being hungry or tired with any grace or dignity. Whining is most often the result.

She may also simply be bored. Whining may be a signal that she’s ready for pre-school, for some new challenges and responsibilities, or visits from friends.

When you can’t prevent the whining you can model appropriate language and tone of voice. Simply say,  “Melissa, would you like to ask me if you could please have a cookie?”  Have her repeat her request and if she gets it right, respond.  Be matter-of-fact in your response. Making too big a deal of her improved speaking voice will encourage her to whine first and improve later. So behave as if you expect her to cooperate.

If she continues to whine simply leave the room saying, “I just can’t listen to that whiny voice.”

If whining stops working for her, she will soon drop the habit.

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