The Cure for Whining5 min read
If parents were to be asked to make a list of what irritates them the most about their child, whining would probably top that list. Whining is something that is extremely common in toddlers and even preschoolers. It can get really irritating for parents to hear that whiny voice and they’d do pretty much anything just to make their kids stop it. However, constantly giving in to your kids’ demands just to get them to stop their whining and tantrums is not a long-term solution. Many times, the whining that you see on the surface is actually an expression of a deeper issue. So, in order to eliminate the whining, you will need to do it by addressing underlying complications.
We have attempted to make a list of a few possible reasons that your child may be whining, and how you can go about dealing with it.
The need to cry
Sometimes your child will whine because underneath he actually needs to cry and let out some pent-up anxiety and stress. When children go through various changes that are not particularly favorable to them, they might not really know how to express it and end up whining instead. Be patient and kind to your child until you get a chance to sit down and have a small chat with him. As soon as you have a few minutes, sit your child down and encourage him to talk about what’s troubling him. Reassure him that you are right here for him if he needs to cry and let it all out. Ask your child if he wants to snuggle or if he just needs a tight hug.
The need for more connection
As a parent, you should ideally spend a good amount of time with your child, and show him that he is loved and cared for. Be perceptive and give your child the attention he needs before he starts demanding for it. When you take the effort to give your child the attention he requires without him having to ask for it, he will feel supported and cared for.
Connection is a very basic human need and fulfilling that for your child beforehand will result in him never feeling the need to whine about it. Meeting your kid’s needs is an important job of a parent and one that will help to provide them with the resources he needs to cope.
Lack of internal resources to cope with what is asked and expected from him
It is a normal human trait to get whiny when feeling overwhelmed. Children can get whiny when their basic needs like food, rest, playtime and time with you are not met. This is why it is important that you make sure that your child’s basic needs are met first. You certainly cannot expect him to happily endure a long shopping trip or a house party when he is hungry and hasn’t had enough sleep or proper rest. Pay attention to what your child requires and try to not create a negative situation for the both of you. Your child will definitely whine if you expect cooperation from him without meeting his needs first.
Your child does not like what is happening and feels powerless
Many people believe that children will whine when they feel powerless. Being scolded for it by their parents does nothing but further increase their feelings of powerlessness. Don’t try to make your child keep quiet or refuse to listen to him when this happens. Instead, make an effort to actively listen to him. Encourage him to calm down and voice what is troubling him. You may be surprised to notice that when you simply listen to your child, the whining might just stop right there. Being heard greatly reduces the feeling of powerlessness. When you show your child that you are not only listening to him but also understanding his point of view, he will feel more relaxed and confident.
If the whining still continues after that, playfully invite your child to use his strong voice to put forward logical arguments in order to negotiate with you. Providing your child with the resources he needs to communicate more maturely and learn to negotiate with you will benefit him in the long run. Not only will the whining stop but you will also be able to reach conclusions where both sides are satisfied.
Children will whine when they feel like it works in their favor. However, being rude about them not getting their way is not the solution. Be kind and voice your child’s disappointment; this will help him to feel less alone with his feelings. You can then try to divert his attention and need for a certain thing (like chocolates) to something that you can provide. Try to find something else that will make him happy and forget about what he was being stubborn about. You could propose a little playtime with his toys instead, a yummy fruit, or suggest that you let him have a chocolate if he eats some extra veggies for dinner.
This will teach your child to look for alternate solutions that possibly work for everyone.
To get whatever he wants
Parents usually hate their kids whining and will basically do anything to get them to stop. But that is really not the solution at all. You are only making your child more stubborn and allowing him to be manipulative to get what he wants. Instead, take a deep breath and calm yourself down before addressing the situation. Your child’s whining is not an emergency do-or-die situation; you need to approach the situation with patience and kindness. All you really need to do is to love your child and show him that he is heard. If negotiating with him doesn’t help, a tight hug might just do the trick.
No matter the reason for your child’s whining, remember to stay by his side and be available. There is a difference between showing your child that he is loved and spoiling him just to keep him temporarily happy. Positive parenting is about actively listening and appropriately responding to difficult situations instead of dealing with them haphazardly.