Thursday, May 31, 2012

How Do You...Handle Whining?

How to you deal with children who whine after being told no? 
submitted by Babychaser and Allyson

Ugh!  Whining is a constant struggle around our house!  I've come to realize that certain kids with certain personalities tend to whine more than others.  It doesn't mean they should be allowed to get away with it, though.  It just means I have to work harder to stay on top of it. 

I'll admit that sometimes I'm too busy or too lazy to cut the whining until it has gotten out of hand and become an ingrained habit. When I'm being more diligent, though, I have a no-tolerance policy toward whining. 

Whining is an ugly reaction to a child not getting his or her way.  It usually goes like this... a happy child asks for a cookie or another story before bed or to go outside in the rain.  I say no, and the happy child immediately dissolves into frowns, stomps, and whiny voice. This is when I say, "[Insert child's name], my answer was no and that is what I mean.  You can either stop whining now or I will [insert punishment]." 

It can take several days of whines and reminders and follow-throughs before I notice a difference.  It's a miserable series of days for me and for the child who is re-learning that whining does not get him or her anywhere.  In the end, though, the results are more than worth it!  (And then I slack off again and the whining returns and we have to go through this process once more.  When will we ever learn?!)

How do you combat whining?  Let us know in the comments. 

Also, if you have a question for a future "How Do You...?" post, share that in the comments, too, or send me an e-mail! I'd love to hear from you. 


  1. Oh, I totally agree with you about some children (and big people?) having more of a tendency toward whining! (Exactly one-half of my own children had this tendency.) And I also agree that the only way to help the child overcome it is the zero-tolerence policy...which is painful for the child and the parents, but so worth it. After all, who can enjoy the company of a whiny kid...or adult?

  2. So far we seem to have only one major whiner. We deal with it the same way you do, but I can't figure out why we think slacking for a time will work never does :(

  3. We just discovered that my oldest son has a mild case of Asperger's. This shows up a lot when he kind of dissolves into a heap of whines and "I can't do it!"s. It really bothered me a lot, but finding out there was a reason for it has helped. It also helped to have the psychologist talk about walking him through it. I think often our kids don't know a better way to express their disappointment. We've tried giving him other ways of saying it, but we always start with, "You have to use your nice voice or I just can't help you." Once you get past that stage, you move on to "now what do you want again?" When he gives me an answer in his calm voice, I either help him achieve that or explain to him why he can't have that right then. Sometimes walking them through it can help them come up with a better way to communicate, whether there's a "disability" or not. I've been trying to use it with my oldest (who is just whiny!) and it's been helping her as well.

  4. Thanks for sharing! Our biggest whiners go a step further and truly fall apart about things. Some days I'm at a loss. We try to have a zero tolerance policy. I'll have to try your approach!

  5. I pretty much deal with it the same way you do. Whining about my answer will absolutely not make me change my mind, but it earn the child a discipline. If they try to ask me something in a whiny tone, I simply tell them that I can't hear them talking when they use their whiny voice and they usually switch back to a regular voice pretty quickly. If the whining is consistent throughout the day, I tell them to "put their whiny voice away." and they will pretend to take it out of their throat and throw it in the garbage (my 4 year old daughter pretends to eat it).


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