The “Why” Behind the “Whining:” And how to make it stop!
You said “no” to brownies for breakfast, a new puppy and your 15-year-old’s request to spend the weekend at a beach house with friends. And the whining begins—from toddlers to teens, they all have their way of trying to negotiate your decision in their best nails-on-a-chalkboard voice.
You’ve tried everything from timeouts to earplugs, but the whining won’t end. But don’t worry—there’s help. By learning why your kids are whining, you can discover how to put an end to it, for good.
Why all the whining? Because it works! (For your kids, that is.) When your kids whine and negotiate, they secure a big chunk of your attention—and even negative attention is better than nothing. Add to that the couple of times you’ve given in because you just can’t take it anymore, and your kids have found a pretty successful formula for getting something they want!
Now that you know why your kids whine, you can make it stop—before your ears fall off. Follow these strategies, and the screechy voice will be a thing of the past:
- Make it NOT work. Remember the main reason why your kids whine? It works! By removing the payoff—attention and maybe the reward of getting what they’re whining for—you’ll cut back dramatically on this annoying misbehavior. First, stop giving in to whining. Whether you’re in the grocery store or at the dinner table, say “no,” and stick to it. If a tantrum happens, calmly let it in a safe place (like the car)—your child will soon learn that whining, and even a tantrum, won’t get him what he wants.
- Pay No (Negative) Attention. By removing your attention from your child’s whining, you’ll also remove a big part of the payoff. Here’s how to make it work: at a calm moment, warn your kids, “You’re growing so much, and you’re big enough now to ask for what you’d like in a nice voice without whining, and be okay if you don’t get it.” Then, calmly inform them that you will no longer be paying attention to whining or negotiating with them. You’ll simply leave the room. Then, follow through, and your kids will get the message soon enough.
- Provide POSITIVE Attention. For this strategy to work, you also need to provide plenty of positive attention to your kids throughout the day. Each parent should shoot for 10 minutes of quality time on your child’s terms, twice a day with each of your kids. When your kids know they have this time to look forward to, a lot of the attention-seeking misbehaviors will melt away.
With these strategies in place, you’ll be able to keep the whining to a minimum. But if you’ve got whining you might have tantrums, sibling rivalry, bedtime and homework battles, and all the rest. While the tips above will help with whining, there are a host of other tools that will address all the behavior problems in your home.
In our online parenting course, you’ll learn WHY kids misbehave in the first place, what you might be doing to contribute to the problem, and more than 25 tools and strategies to help you put a stop to your kids’ most frustrating misbehaviors. It’s a whole parenting system—and it works fast.
“Implementing the many tools you taught me has almost completely eliminated the whining. I am so glad that my husband and I both took the course so that we are on the same parenting page! Thank you so much!!!” – Kim Moss
The easiest way to get started is with our Quick-Start Guide. You’ll learn the root causes of your kids’ tantrums, and find some more strategies for all kinds of power struggles. Your kids become more cooperative, self-sufficient and empowered with each additional tool you learn. Start now, and you’ll see behavior improve after implementing the very first tool.
Start now with the Quick-Start Guide