Whiners Anonymous: Tips for Helping Your Child Kick The Whining Habit

December 21, 2012  |  

My daughter is a reformed whiner.  She’s not completely over whining, but thanks to my boot-camp like discipline practices she’s well on her way.

For the most part, my school-aged daughter is a good child.  But like most children, she has habits that I’d like to see changed.  Her major issues are talking back and whining.  Now I can deal with talking back.  Talking back is just the price that comes along with having a daughter (we all remember how sassy we were as girls, don’t we?).  But nothing grates my nerves more than the high-pitched crying whiny noise that can only come from a child who can’t get her way.  It’s worse than listing to fingernails on a chalk board.

After trial and error, I found some ways to curb my daughter’s whining.  When using these strategies repeatedly, I’ve found that my house is much more whine-free.  So if you have a chronic whiner in your house, try these simple tactics:

Tactic 1: Turn your entire body away from the whiner.  For a child, whining is the ultimate cry for attention.  If we could translate that high pitched noise into English, we would hear the following words: “Mama, please look at me!  I want all your attention!  Look at me and give me my way!!” Once most children see that their actions are causing them to get the exact opposite of what they want (your attention), they will stop their whining.

Tactic 2: Leave the room, close yourself away from the whiner and lock the door.  Some kids are expert at whining.  Turning your body away from them will not help.  These advanced whiners need actions that are more dramatic.  Nothing is more dramatic than leaving the whiny child behind, going into another room and locking the door.  Believe me your crying child will try to follow you.  And all hell will break loose when she realizes that you have locked yourself away.  But after 5 minutes of kicking and screaming, she will give up and shut up!  When she does, reward her by unlocking the door and having a civilized conversation.

Tactic 3: Sit in the middle of the floor and whine right back at them.  The first time I did this, my daughter looked at me like I’d lost my mind.  She was shocked to see me dishing her own behavior back at her.  It didn’t take long for her to stop her tears and just stare at me.  Once she stopped, I stopped and talked with her about how silly whining is.  We both had a good laugh and talked about more effective ways to communicate her feelings.

Sometimes we have to take radical (and silly) actions to change our children’s behavior.  These tactics have made my household much calmer and quieter.  Try them in your house.

What do your kids do that works your nerves?  How do you combat it?

Words: Yolanda Darville

Yolanda Darville is a mom, writer, and blogger focusing on philanthropy and empowering women.  Learn more about her on her blog www.bahamamommyinc.com.

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