It has a way of grating on your nerves. Whining can drive a momma up the proverbial wall. How do you stop a two year old from whining when it’s time for bed, when you take her favorite toy away or when she doesn’t get her way?
What do you do when your 5 year old whines about what you feed him for lunch, when you make him play outside or when you make him take a nap?
Somehow, whining is a universal language for children between 1 and 18… and if it’s not dealt with before they become adults, their spouses have the displeasure of dealing with their whining.
Since we all know there are no cookie cutter kids, we also know there are no cookie cutter answers. What works for one will not work for another. However, there are some things moms can do to help win the whining war!
Here are 10 ways to win the whining war:
1. Identify your child’s triggers. What initiates the whining? Begin the process of taking note of what it is that seems to trigger the whining. You may notice a pattern and be able to distinguish between legitimate fears and overdramatized frustrations.
2. Define whining. You’re children need to understand what whining is and why it’s not acceptable. I know you’ve probably figured it out already, but telling them to stop whining doesn’t really help. Be sure to explain to your children what whining is and why it won’t be allowed.
3. Don’t give in. When children whine they have to know you won’t let them have their way… not because of whatever it is they are whining about but BECAUSE THEY ARE WHINING. It you reward whining by giving in to whatever it is they are whining about, you reinforce to them that whining works and you will lose the whining war before the battle ever begins.
4. Establish realistic consequences. Sometimes it’s not enough to not give in because they are whining, other times there has to be comparable consequences. If you have to take away a toy or a privilege for a day to wage war with whiny behavior, then you might have to do that.
5. Re-adjust their focus. Children have a short attention span. Use that to your advantage as a parent. When the whining begins, it’s very important to deal with it, but after you have done so, divert your little one’s attention in a new direction.
6. Don’t have a meltdown moment in front of them. Whining has a way of wearing a mommy out. Don’t let them know that. For some reason, those sweet little bundles of joy have a way of knowing what buttons to push and how long to push them before they get their way. If they see you wearing down, they’ll think they can wear you out and you’ll give in. You’re the parent. Remember, you don’t have to get upset. You just have to parent them well.
7. Be consistent. Probably the most important aspect of parenting overall is to be a consistent parent. If you corrected them for whining about something yesterday, it can’t be okay today. If they had a toy taken away from them from whining last week, it has to be taken away if they refuse to quit whining today. Don’t allow yourself to be so tired you become a wishy-washy mom. Remember, consistency is key and wishy-washy moms never win the whining war.
8. Show the love even when they whine. Being frustrated with a whining child is normal, but children have a way of being like a sponge and absorbing whatever attitude you display. Correcting your children must always be done in love. If it’s not, it’s just an overflow of your frustration and anger and there’s nothing good that can come from that.
9. Explain and reward proper behavior. Let your children know what you expect and how it is best to deal with something. Explain different ways they can deal with being frustrated and reward them with they behave well. Children like to please their parents… so tell them how to do so by giving them a good understanding of various ways they can respond instead of whining.
10. Don’t be a whiner. Behavior is much more caught than taught. What you do in moderation, your children will do in excess. That includes whining. You may want to pay attention to your responses to be sure your child isn’t just mimicking you. If you don’t want your child to be a whiner, then don’t allow your own behavior to teach them how to be one.
Whining is such a difficult behavior to deal with. Many a mom has crumbled under the weight of a whining child. But if you deal with it now… deal with it consistently… deal with it wisely and deal with it in love, you will win the whining war and before you know it, your home will be a ‘whine-free zone’ and you will be a less stressed momma.
What do you do to win the whining war with your children?