My Unconventional Way To Stop The Whining!
A whiny child is like nails on a chalk board. Like a fork scraping across the plate. It is unbearable! It gets on your last nerve. Gets on my first nerve, middle nerve and last nerve. I have no tolerance for it.
Have you ever been out in public and witnessed a child whining to their mother about wanting something and the mother just ignores the child? How on earth does she stand it? How long until she puts an end to it, or does she? Do you have a whiny child and haven’t been successful in stopping the behaviour?
Whining is a learned behaviour for a child to get what they want. Whining occurs when a child hasn’t been given the tools or life lessons to communicate appropriately with other people. Whining is successful for children because most parents do not have the patience to listen to it anymore and give in. Or the whining achieves the attention the child was demanding for.
Most parents try the ignoring tactic. If I do not acknowledge the behaviour it will go away. Other parents try the rational approach, discussing the civilized way to express themselves. Well, I’m not your typical mom. I approach this behaviour in a completely different way than most.
When my daughter was little, she tried whining to get what she wanted. She tried it twice. That was it! She was lucky the second time she attempted it that I didn’t turn all poltergeist on her.
My parenting style was to always talk in a conversational voice with my children. We interacted. I didn’t allow my family to talk at each other. I cannot stand disrespect in my home amongst family members. We discuss our feelings, desires and dislikes. Very rarely do I need to raise my voice for my children to take action. However, this doesn’t mean that my daughter didn’t try the whining technique with me. She did. And this is how I nipped-it-in-the-bud!
My daughter, Piper, came rushing into the kitchen one afternoon wanting her brother to share his toys with her. She was whining and dragging her words out and looking all pathetic like. Explaining how her brother, Cobi, wouldn’t let her touch his dinky cars or let her play with him.
OMG! I’ll tell you all right now, I gagged, right there on the spot with her behaviour. I may have even vomited in my mouth a little. I cannot tolerate whining. It is one of THE worst sounds on the planet. I was in shock that my child was speaking to me this way, with the hopes that it would help her gain what she wanted. Well, my little angel offspring, spoiled little brat! I do not think so.
At first, I did think about ignoring her, that perhaps she would just go away, but I thought, what is that teaching her? There was no correction to the behaviour. And I just sent the message to my child that her concerns are not important enough for me to pay attention to. And I have always made a point with my children that their feelings, wishes and needs are worthy of expressing and being considered. So… on the spot, this is what I did…
I responded to my child in the EXACT SAME VOICE she spoke to me in. I whined… I whined bigger and louder, and more exaggerated than she was with me. I stomped my foot, I gave her the puppy-dog eyes with that pathetic pout she dished out to me. That’s right, in your face child! “But I don’t waaaant you to tattle on your brother right noooow. Why can’t you both just get aloooong?”
Well, Piper didn’t appreciate that too much. She immediately took a step back with a puzzled look on her face and asked me why I was talking to her like that, in her normal, conversational voice. I simply stated, “That is how you spoke to me”. At first she refused to believe me, but as she continued on about her brother not playing with her, I kept on whining back. She figured it out.
Once she stopped talking, I made it very clear to her. Whining does not get you what you want. It does not solve your problem and it certainly doesn’t make you look like the big girl you want everyone to see you as. I told her, when you can talk WITH me about your problem, I will be glad to help you out in solving it.
That was it! She got to see herself from an outside point of view. She didn’t like it. Then we discussed how civilized people express their problems to people.
She tried it one other time in the department store when she wanted a toy that I was not prepared to buy for her. She started with the whining. I whined right back! I stomped my foot again and got really loud, right there in the store. There was an older lady in the isle with me, and she gave me one strange look. But I didn’t care.
Piper stopped immediately. I didn’t need to get all rational and conversational with her. She knew and she stopped. She looked up at me and said, “I’m not gonna get that toy today, am I?” And I said, “Nope!” That was the end of the whining.
Respect is earned. You must be respectful of others if you wish others to be respectful to you. That is how it works. And my children have learned this.
I have a very close and open communicative relationship with my children. My tactics may be a little off the wall at times, but I am by nature, goofy and silly and a bit weird. But my children have learned that there is a time for fun and silliness, and there is a time to be real with one another. They learn their lessons in life with a little bit of both.
Children learn by physical experiences much more readily than they do by being told. Allowing them to see themselves from an outside perspective is a great way to teach them about behaviour, but always with a follow up discussion.
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